Overbooked by Elizabeth Becker
The Exploding Business of Travel and Tourism

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Overbooked appeals to a wide audience: those who make the billion trips annually; those who have a stake in the places impacted...
-NY Journal of Books

Synopsis

Tourism, fast becoming the largest global business, employs one out of twelve persons and produces $6.5 trillion of the world’s economy. In a groundbreaking book, Elizabeth Becker uncovers how what was once a hobby has become a colossal enterprise with profound impact on countries, the environment, and cultural heritage.

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.
 

About Elizabeth Becker

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Elizabeth Becker is an award winning author and former correspondent for The New York Times who reported from Europe, Asia, and South America. As the Senior Foreign Editor at National Public Radio, she oversaw all the network’s foreign bureaus and their reporting. She has won awards from the Robert Kennedy Book Awards, Overseas Press Club, and DuPont-Columbia and was part of the New York Times staff that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for public service.
 
Published April 16, 2013 by Simon & Schuster. 466 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Overbooked
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by JOSHUA HAMMER on Apr 19 2013

...meticulously reported and often disturbing exposé of the travel industry...

Read Full Review of Overbooked: The Exploding Bus... | See more reviews from NY Times

WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by Graeme Wood on Apr 19 2013

Tourism propaganda might make sense for countries whose existence people might otherwise forget. I would submit that anyone somehow still ignorant of America is unlikely to learn about it by visiting its official website.

Read Full Review of Overbooked: The Exploding Bus... | See more reviews from WSJ online

NY Journal of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Stephen Roulac on Apr 16 2013

Overbooked appeals to a wide audience: those who make the billion trips annually; those who have a stake in the places impacted...

Read Full Review of Overbooked: The Exploding Bus... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

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