A Caleidoscope of Academic Tourism Critique

"Critical Debates in Tourism"

Ko Ko Thett

Critical Debates in Tourism edited by Tej Vir Singh is bound to be one of the most significant additions to the multi-disciplinary tourism discourse as 35 leading tourism experts voice passionate opinions on diverse issues ranging from the sustainability of mass tourism to the relative new notion of ‘slow tourism.’ 

Each of the tome’s fourteen chapters, besides introduction and conclusion, begins with a leading scholar’s ‘research probe’ or motion that is seconded or refuted by debaters. On one end of the spectrum, Brian Wheeller expresses his unbelief in academic influence on the tourism industry and policy with his plea to ‘contextualize eco/ego/sustainability tourism within reality, to exit fantasy land (of sustainable tourism) in ‘Mass Tourism and Sustainability.’

On the other end, Dorothea Meyer asks ‘Tourism businesses are not development agencies - and why should they be?’ in ‘Pro-poor Tourism: Is There Value Beyond the Rhetoric?’ The structure and style of the book may be ‘unusual’ but its readability should not only serve as a guide to, as intended, scholars and those in the industry, but to anyone interested in seeking explanations, and even hints of solutions, to ‘the big questions’ posed by modern mass tourism.

Critical Debates in Tourism. By Tej Vir Singh (Ed). 376 pages, Channel View Publications, Bristol, 2012, ISBN-13: 978-1845413415.

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