Overbooked: The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism

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Simon and Schuster, Apr 16, 2013 - Business & Economics - 448 pages
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The largest global business in the world today is tourism. Employing one out of twelve people in the world and producing $6.5 trillion of the world’s economy, it is the main source of income for many countries. Elizabeth Becker describes the dimensions of this industry and its huge effect on the world economy, the environment, and our culture.

Tourism, fast becoming the largest global business, employs one out of twelve persons and produces $6.5 trillion of the world’s economy. In a groundbreaking book, Elizabeth Becker uncovers how what was once a hobby has become a colossal enterprise with profound impact on countries, the environment, and cultural heritage.

This invisible industry exploded at the end of the Cold War. In 2012 the number of tourists traveling the world reached one billion. Now everything can be packaged as a tour: with the high cost of medical care in the U.S., Americans are booking a vacation and an operation in countries like Turkey for a fraction of the cost at home.

Becker travels the world to take the measure of the business: France invented the travel business and is still its leader; Venice is expiring of over-tourism. In Cambodia, tourists crawl over the temples of Angkor, jeopardizing precious cultural sites. Costa Rica rejected raising cattle for American fast-food restaurants to protect their wilderness for the more lucrative field of eco-tourism.

Dubai has transformed a patch of desert in the Arabian Gulf into a mammoth shopping mall. Africa’s safaris are thriving, even as its wildlife is threatened by foreign poachers. Large cruise ships are spoiling the oceans and ruining city ports as their American-based companies reap handsome profits through tax loopholes. China, the giant, is at last inviting tourists and sending its own out in droves. The United States, which invented some of the best of tourism, has lost its edge due to political battles. Becker reveals travel as product. Seeing the tourism industry from the inside out, through her eyes and ears, we experience a dizzying range of travel options though very few quiet getaways. Her investigation is a first examination of one of the largest and potentially most destructive enterprises in the world.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lincolnpan - LibraryThing

This is great, entertaining book. I wish I could give it 4.5 stars - but if you like traveling and if you like business, it's a funny, witty peephole into an evil business. The cruise ship and the Venice chapters are so so memorable, and the China chapters loads of fun. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - phoenixcomet - LibraryThing

I did not read every chapter in this book because some places like Sri Lanka hold no interest for me. I did, however, read most of the chapters and was shocked to discover that on most cruise lines ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
2
CULTURAL TOURISM
41
CONSUMER TOURISM
123
NATURE TOURISM
207
THE NEW GIANT
289
The Chinese Market
312
THE OLD GIANT
343
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About the author (2013)

Elizabeth Becker is an award-winning author and former correspondent for The New York Times who reported from Europe, Asia, and South America. As the Senior Foreign Editor at National Public Radio, she oversaw all the network’s foreign bureaus and their reporting. She has won awards from the Robert Kennedy Book Awards, Overseas Press Club, and DuPont-Columbia and was part of the New York Times staff that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for public service.

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