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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.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By matthew on 05-23-13
A collection of an emerging business
The part about Paris was great.It is the most visited place due to its desire to remain culturally interesting.The part about Dubai was shocking.I hadn't realized they used slave labor to build their magnificence.The part about America was disturbing.We our a closed country that doesn't welcome tourism.Something that could bring much needed capital to an ailing nation.Obama lost the Olympic bid to Brazil when it could have been in Chicago instead.The history of cruising was quite good.It doesn't seem like the cruisers pay their crew much better that the people in Dubai,but the tourists get pampered and enjoy using the ship as a kind of floating hotel.The ships seem like highly controlled environments in which the management profits deeply from the crew's honest effort.I know now not to buy in the places they steer the customers to.Instead of a ship being a floating hotel,perhaps it s a kind of financial prison for everyone on board while at sea or in port.I was left feeling that this is an industry that still has room to grow.A creative person could create the right kind of tours that would give the tourists the kind of rich cultural experience they are looking for.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
By Keith L. on 03-03-15
Informative and interesting, a bit verbose
The author's personal experiences, and insights, often overly detailed, interwoven with historical and political background of many global destinations. Mainly held my interest with additional info about places I've been, although along with much I already knew. Could be less engaging for readers/listeners who aren't widely traveled.
I wish the author had tied things together better at the end, e.g. what things should we all be paying attention to at home and abroad to support healthy tourist industry advancement and sustainability.
Narration was clear but a bit stodgy, older school teacher sounding, also due to author's less contemporary style and vocabulary, which seemed to take so much longer to hear than to read.