Contemporary Tourism: an international approach

This latest text from two of the most prolific, world-renown authors in the rapidly expanding field of tourism is published at a propitious time. As the number of international arrivals approaches 900 million worldwide, the book's opening chapter acknowledges that contemporary tourism is 'one of the most significant yet misunderstood phenomenon in the world today' (p4). The proliferation of tourist destinations and the myriad of tourism-related activities have not only changed significantly in the past two decades but, as the authors claim, continue to undergo constant innovation and change in response to the exciting challenges of an increasingly global and discerning tourism marketplace. To this end, the authors' view that this book presents a new and refreshing approach to the study of contemporary tourism and how it is conceptualised is endorsed. An extremely student-friendly and accessibly written text which provides a useful introduction to some of the key emerging issues and inevitable difficulties which arise when defining tourism as a coherent industry and a singular packaged product. The book is structured sensibly into five main sections comprising thirteen chapters with an unequivocal underlying service dimension theme from the outset. Each section sequentially reflects a contemporary aspect of tourism aimed at enhancing the reader's understanding of the interrelationships between tourists, tourism suppliers, destinations and the variety of experiences created. The authors' assertion that service management is 'the new paradigm in contemporary tourism' (p312) is clearly not entirely unique to this text, however, their earlier claim that 'specific tourism products [should be] developed and engineered as experiences' (p29) is a core concept that pervades throughout, and together with its clear destination focus arguably sets the book apart from the many tourism textbooks currently available. Each chapter combines conceptual rigor with practical illustrations and examples, as well as case studies drawn from around the world to provide a further international perspective. Significantly, China's dynamic tourism growth, and the renewed competitive repositioning of the mature Mediterranean destinations were notable exclusions from the book's showcasing of contemporary tourism developments. I would, nonetheless, highly recommend this text as essential reading for any student of tourism.