Top 10 sustainability books for tourism professionals to read in 2017

Recommendations for books on sustainability for tourism professionals is one of the questions we often ask in our interviews with leading sustainable tourism academics, advisors and managers. In this post we present you ten books which our interviewees found particularly useful or inspiring. Some of them were published years ago, others are more recent.

Not mentioned here because it was published after most of those interviews is Megan Epler Wood‘s book Sustainable Tourism on a Finite Planet. The book is part of our editor picks of must reads, and also highly recommended by Justin Francis of ResponsibleTravel.com and Salli Felton of the Travel Foundation, among others.

In no particular order:

1. Overbooked

Overbooked by Elizabeth Becker is an interesting read for anyone wanting to get better insights into the travel and tourism industry.”

Salli Felton, UK. Also recommended by Luigi Cabrini and Randy Durband and part of our list of recommended books which we consider “must reads” for tourism professionals.


2. Running a Hotel on the Roof of the World: Five Years in Tibet

“The funniest and most entertaining book on the hospitality sector is quite an old one that I read last year: Running a Hotel on the Roof of the World: Five Years in Tibet by Alec Le Sueur (1998). The book describes the author’s experience in the management of the Holiday Inn Lhasa (Tibet) in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This book is not only usually funny, but also describes all sorts of dilemmas in the hospitality sector in developing countries. Maybe the author did not mean to write about sustainability, but he touched numerous quality issues that are related to it.”

Albert Salman, Netherlands


3. Sustainable Cultural Tourism: Small-Scale Solutions

Sustainable Cultural Tourism: Small-Scale Solutions by Susan M. Guyette Ph.D. is a nice book that I found very interesting as it brings inclusive vision and practical proposals to sustainability in tourism.”

Antonio Abreu, Portugal


4. World Regional Geography: Human Mobilities, Tourism Destinations, Sustainable Environments

World Regional Geography: Human Mobilities, Tourism Destinations, Sustainable Environments by Alan Lew, Colin M. Hall and Timothy Dallen is a book that I have read and used previously in global tourism and/or geography of tourism courses in both the U.S. and France. The book chapters present and explain the field of geography and how this discipline relates to the field of tourism. Highly recommended not just to college students but to the lifelong learners in all of us.”

D’Arcy Dornan, Brazil


5. Holidays That Don’t Cost the Earth

Holidays that don’t cost the earth’ by John Elkington and Julia Hailes was a book which struck a cord when I was first researching tourism and sustainability.”

Jane Ashton, UK


6. Zero to One: Notes on Start Ups, or How to Build the Future

“My recent favorite is Zero to One by Peter Thiel. The book is not on tourism, but an ecotourism entrepreneur should get some ideas or at least confirm that your belief is valid and correct. In a way it is an updated version of Blue Ocean Strategy.

Masaru Takayama, Japan


7. Taking Responsibility for Tourism

Taking Responsibility for Tourism by Harold Goodwin is a ¨must read¨ for any person with an interest in the debate about responsible tourism and, above all, an interest in the future of tourism. In addition, the author is a person of considerable international relevance in the field of responsible tourism.”

Nuria Chacón Martínez, Spain. Part of our list of recommended books which we consider “must reads” for tourism professionals.


8. Tourism Alternatives: Potentials and Problems in the Development of Tourism

“One of the first passages in William R. Eadington y Valene L. Smith’s Tourism Alternatives: Potentials and Problems in the Development of Tourism that really enthused me when I began this journey was ‘Making the Alternative Sustainable: Lessons from Development for Tourism’, by Emanuel De Kadt.”

Paul Rogers, Australia


9. The Final Call: Investigating Who Really Pays For Our Holidays

I love The Final Call by Leo Hickman, published in 2007. It was a really plain great read that showcased how awful tourism can be, but is motivating you to change at the same time.”

Rachel Dodds, Canada


10. Sustainability Marketing: A Global Perspective

I enjoyed Sustainability Marketing: A Global Perspective from Frank-Martin Belz and Ken Peattie. It is no longer new, but it is still the best for this topic.

Xavier Font, UK


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Top 10 Recommended Sustainability Books for Tourism Professionals to Read in 2017
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