Daily Archives: May 20, 2013

* 1/2 Overbooked by Elizabeth Becker

Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism makes some good points about the dark side of the travel industry but too often rants against mass tourism in a way that only entitled, rich Westerners can. Of course hordes of tourists are wrecking Angkor Wat (and, on hot summer days, the Eiffel Tower for that matter). Of course the cruise industry has managed to simultaneously outsource its staffing to cheap countries and bring the staff to rich countries. But not everyone can afford a luxury ecotourism trip to Costa Rica. Does the author mean that poor people should just stay home?

And while she makes an excellent point that tourism is a vast industry, she can stretch the point to silly ends. For instance, I doubt very much that the French government, in its infinite wisdom, built the bullet train system for tourists, or that the reason for the drop in foreign tourists to the US in recent years is the lack of a good pan-American tourist website. (To be fair, she later explains how the tightening of the entry process after 2001 contributed to the problem, but late enough to make the reader, me, shake her head in disbelief.)


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