Tourism & Sustainability: Development and Tourism in the Third World

Tourism & Sustainability: Development and Tourism in the Third World

Tourism & Sustainability: Development and Tourism in the Third World

Tourism & Sustainability: Development and Tourism in the Third World


The authors challenge the notion of sustainability and its relationship to contemporary tourism in the developing world, then discuss alternative channels of tourism development and the impact of tourism policies at local, national and global level.


Much has changed since the first edition of Tourism and Sustainability. The speed of change, the pace of globalisation and the increasing prominence of 'development' as a global imperative have been at times breathtaking. The rise and maturity of the anti-globalisation movement symbolised by the protests at the World Trade Organisation talks in Seattle, the G8 Summit in Genoa, the unrest that has rumbled in numerous cities (from Prague to Quito), terrorist attacks on the USA and a new round of 'crusades against evil' are simply the most media-worthy events - the tips of an iceberg of broader and more fundamental social and economic change. In particular, much of this activity has centred on resolving the structurally unequal role of the 'Third World' within an emerging 'global order'. For us, it has been necessary to understand how these global geopolitical factors and processes inform an analysis of Third World tourism.

Development, at its most basic, fashioned by the need to reduce levels of absolute poverty in the Third World, has risen to greater prominence since the early 1990s. The United Nations has set global development targets (the so-called millennium development goals), a second round of the UN family of mega-conferences (including the World Summit on Sustainable Development, better known as Rio + 10 in September 2002) has taken place, and First World governments are looking to increase their resourcing of development in exchange for economic restructuring in recipient states. In large part, some critics would argue, this is a response to the need for First World security against what are perceived as 'rogue' states, 'rogue' networks and 'rogue' migrants. The North Atlantic axis (USA, UK and other European states), urging the adoption of a policy of 'liberal imperialism' and vigorously promoting a neoliberal economic agenda through, for example, negotiations for the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), is growing and becoming more explicit in its exercise of power over the rest of the world.

While not at the heart of this movement for development, tourism has nevertheless found prominence. The UN's controversial International Year of Ecotourism has spotlighted the role of tourism, and the development potential of tourism has forced its way on to the Rio + 10 Summit agenda. The emergence of so-called people-centred approaches to development has also found resonance in pro-poor, community-centred, tourism initiatives. As a counterbalance to the top down and trickle-down approaches to tourism master planning in Third World destinations and the assumption that the tourism industry was of sufficient size to provide for development by default, pro-poor tourism is being promoted as a targeted development intervention.

We have responded to these changes since the first edition by building in more wide-ranging discussions on development, a fundamental requisite for understanding and assessing new forms of Third World tourism. This ranges from a presentation of development theory, to a critical discussion of tourism's fair trade and pro-poor development potential. But the core of our argument remains unchanged in that development is an inherently unequal and uneven process, symbolised arguably by the diasporic and

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