Book Review: Tourism and Responsibility
Tourism and Responsibility: Perspectives from Latin America and the Caribbean
By Martin Mowforth, Clive Charlton and Ian Munt, Routledge 2008
This is a timely book on an important topic but holiday reading it isn’t. Its basic tenet is that tourism in all its forms is deeply rooted in the power of the global free-market economy. In this context, “responsible” tourism as a tool for development and poverty eradication struggles to make headway.
While this will come as no surprise to most CAR readers, the book’s conclusion still feels unsatisfactory. After posing the question “how can power be exercised responsibly?” it suggests there “is no clearly defined way to practice tourism responsibly” and we should focus on learning “about the place and people that we are visiting”.
The writing is scholarly, although sometimes turgid. But there are also case studies, written in engaging, story-telling style. The chapters are well-structured with lots of references for further study. There are interesting discussions of the meaning of poverty and “local participation”, yet surprisingly little on gap-year tourism. A book to make us think about how, why and even whether we should travel…