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Harris, Rob, Tony Griffin and Peter Williams. Sustainable Tourism: A Global Perspective. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2002 (311 pp.). Sustainable tourism is one of the growth markets within the travel and tourism industry. One reason is that there is no clear definition of what the term actually means, so a lot of the discussion in books and articles is about exactly that: What is sustainable tourism? This collection of nearly 20 essays could spend a little more time with that very question. There are a few introductory chapters that hint at the difficulties associated with the malleable and often controversial nature of "sustainable tourism," but more theoretical essays along those lines would be helpful to anyone coming to the topic for the first time. Sustainable Tourism is divided into four parts: the first and shortest, as noted, considers some of the historical, definitional, and theoretical dimensions of sustainable tourism. The second section examines issues of accreditation and interpretation; many suggestions here would be helpful to heritage tourism programs as well. The final two sections, by far the largest part of the book, present case studies from sustainable tourism projects around the world. Actually, itís not accurate to call the book a "global perspective," since most of the writers are from the U.K. or Australia, and that is where the majority of their case studies occur (there are no U.S. studies). Unfortunately, these essays begin to feel like final evaluation reports to a foundation from scholars who worked on the projects (and, in fact, some did participate in the projects they report on). The last two chapters, as interesting as some of the specific case studies might be, also start to sound extremely repetitive, as the processes and the lessons learned could almost be repeated from one study to the next. That is, the goals and objects for each project read very much the same: balance economic impact with conservation, involve the local community, etc. While there is clearly recognition throughout the book that tourism can have deleterious effects in any community, especially when the ecology is fragile to begin with, the bulk of the writers here believe that tourism can aid the preservation of lands and species, and most of the case studies demonstrate how this is working. Clearly, some projects are too recent for a final evaluation to be made, and they are included, one supposes, because they are unique or because the process is different (such as with Earth Sanctuaries Limited in Australia, which is the first large-scale private company to attempt a conservation-tourism initiative). This book focuses almost totally on the ecological implications of sustainability, with only a passing nod to cultural issues. If that is the publicationís purpose, itís not hinted at in the title. A bit more from the culture and heritage perspective would be welcome, as would a few more essays that are more critical of developments in sustainable tourism. There are many travel enterprises that fly the green flag for economic reasons, but their activities are less than environmentally friendly, and, in fact, theyíre outright destructive to lands and cultures. Thatís alluded to here but not discussed at any length. Itís encouraging to read about so many committed and resourceful people and organizations, who are often working at odds with an uncaring tourism sector, a local community that would rather exploit than preserve the natural resources, a nation that doesnít have two dimes to rub together for conservation and marketing, or, even worse, a place like Burma thatís governed by militaristic human rights violators. Many of the earthís majestic natural wonders are in nations that are only now beginning to realize the value of tourism, and so a good deal of the work is simply devising a plan where none existed. Because the book documents the development and implementation of many different plans, managers of wildlife centers, state and national parks, and other environmental attractions will find useful and practical pieces of advice here for creating a more sustainable approach to handling tourists.


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