Mediterranean Islands

Scepticism was alive and well when this book landed on my desk. It had all the appearance of a bloated gazetteer. Ironically it arrived the same day as a friend sent me a copy of the 1966 Illustrated Road Book of Ireland (published by the AA) and one was initially tempted to spend more time looking at the hand-bound Irish manual. However, as an unashamed enthusiast for Croatia it was impossible to resist going straight to Mediterranean Islands and to page 179 to see what had been written about my favourite Adriatic Island - Rab. The analysis of the Island 's tourism was not only fair and recognisable but also provocative. The author's attempt to quantify visitor capacity and crowd factor for Rab gave the Island a ranking with which I would not debate but it would have been useful to have had more details as to how the rankings were calculated. It was also frustrating that the commentary defining the Island 's tourism assets was so scant. For example, Rab town is one of the finest small historic cities in the Kvarner coast yet is not mentioned in the text. The next port of call was to Malta , Gozo and Comino, the three islands that constitute Malta as a destination. Having been involved in Malta professionally since 1987 this review was another natural starting point for this review. Malta receives 1.3 million tourists a year and Rab, say, 120,000, yet Malta (and indeed Cyprus) get the same space allocation and depth of analysis as smaller less important islands. This is an inevitable consequence of a book of this nature which examines tourism on 218 islands that offer accommodation that collectively attract 40 million tourists a year out of a total of 12,000 islands in the Region. The Mediterranean Sea borders some 23 countries and is the world's most important holiday region. This brings with it attendant challenges affecting sustainability, environmental impacts and the need for product development. This book, a genuinely international collaborative effort involving specialists dealing with tourism trends and environmental issues, as well as the specifics of tourism on each of the key tourism islands, is both fascinating and intriguing. It is a gazetteer of sorts and it does offer an intriguing way of looking at island tourism. It does fill a vacuum and is a useful resource for tourism specialists and professionals. It is also an attractive book to handle, to dip into and to have around.