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Mowforth, Martin and Ian Munt. Tourism and Sustainability: New Tourism in the Third World. London: Routledge, 1998 (363 pp.). Although the focus here is on tourism in the Third World, the principles that the authors discuss are relevant for most heritage tourism sites, as well as the governments, tourism agencies, NGOs, and others that work with heritage tourism programs. In particular, the authors are interested in the very notion of "sustainability" (sustainable for who?) and its relationship to the other key political and social themes they see connected to tourism, such as power and globalization. The authors contend that tourism must be considered from a multi-disciplinary approach – social, political, economic, and cultural – and in this they offer a much-needed theoretical and scholarly (if, at times, overly academic) foundation for understanding tourism. Mowforth and Munt include a host of case studies to illustrate the underpinning idea of the book, i.e., that even "new" and "alternative" forms of tourism (cultural, heritage, eco-, etc.) can actually contribute to unequal power structures, and the motives of people and organizations who promote Alternative Tourism should be scrutinized. Do these groups want to appear enlightened, educational, or "green" to promote and advance genuine change (truly sustainable economies, cultures, and lands), or are their words merely marketing tactics which will make little difference? The most damning chapter concerns the tourism industry’s manipulation and dominance of host communities, who provide the product but rarely share in its governance or the profits it may generate. The authors are not optimistic that newer forms of tourism won’t also be appropriated by a corporate system that, they argue, will only exacerbate unequal power relationships between First and Third World nations. Politics aside, there is much helpful data and history here, providing a template (and many difficult questions) for cultural practitioners in the U.S., as well as developing nations.


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