03 May 2010

Reading list: crunching the numbers

Hey, the US Office of Travel & Tourism Industries just released the outbound tourism figures for 2009! Are you as excited about this and totally pumped up to start analyzing the numbers as I am??

No? Huh. Well, your loss.

The key figure is -4 percent--that's the change in travel from the US to Europe from 2008 to 2009. No surprise there, given the state of the economy. Total amount of US citizen air traffic to Europe was precisely 11,929,977 (note that this is the number of airplane trips, so if you flew to Europe two times, you count twice; if you went by boat, you count not at all, and ditto if you're not a passport-wielding citizen).

In other news, I recently finished reading Pico Iyer's The Global Soul, about which I'll offer a full review sometime soon. Short version: being born in Culture A, raised in Culture B, and now living in Culture C makes it difficult to feel at ease. Also, globalization creates a cultural dissonance-slash-fusion that is at once beguiling and bewildering. Obvious, self-evident? Okay, sure, maybe. But Iyer's commentary seems awfully prescient and impressive considering that it dates to 2000, before Facebook and Twitter and YouTube and much of the internet as we know it transformed how we communicate and how we both create and consume culture.

Next on the reading list (forgive the non-MLA-approved citation methodology below):

  • Worldwatch Institute Paper 159: Traveling Light: New Paths for International Tourism (Lisa Mastny, Ed.; 2001)
  • What is the Impact of Tourism? (Roman Espejo, Ed.; 2009)
  • The Travel Industry (Gee, Makens, and Choy; 1989)

... and two that I read a long time ago but need to revisit:

  • The Tourist: A New Theory of the Leisure Class (Dean MacCannell; 1976)
  • Tourism in History: From Imperial Rome to the Present (Maxine Feifer; 1985)

Note the dates on those sources: most are at least twenty years old, the exceptions being the two shortest and most esoteric ones. Most of the other books I've found about tourism (e.g. Paul Fussell's Abroad) were also published somewhere between 1970 and 1990. I find this most curious because, if anything, the subject has gotten only more complex and interesting with the rise of eco-tourism, grief tourism, and heritage tourism (etc.), plus the indescribably immense impact of the internet on our ability to plan our trips and keep in touch while we're abroad. Seems like now would be a great time for another influx of tourism-examining books. So where are they? (That's a serious question, by the way, not just an excuse for me to say, "Gosh, maybe I'll just have to write such a book myself! Oh, wait, I'm already doing that! Look at me being all timely and zeitgeisty!" Honestly: Where are the real books by the real journalists?)

Any suggestions for tourism-related books I should read? Especially newer ones that I may have missed? Let me know! Comment below or e-mail me at doug@douglasmack.net.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You know the drill: keep it civil and on-topic, don't spam, don't run with scissors, floss. For posts older than three weeks, comments will be moderated before publication.