by Larry Krotz ‧ RELEASE DATE: Dec. 1, 1996
Courtly prose and amiable digressions distinguish this study of what some may not consider a serious topic: tourism. Canadian journalist and filmmaker Krotz (Creative Writing/Univ. of Manitoba) travels through such locales as Germany, Africa, Belize, and North Dakota to explore the ""loaded"" terms ""tourist"" and ""traveler."" In the 19th century, the term ""tourist"" referred to peripatetic groups of the elite who traveled around Europe visiting museums. The pioneering travel agent Thomas Cook saw his tours as an example of democracy in action, opening up the world to the working classes. The word ""traveler"" derived from ""travail,"" or work, and refers to a serious or adventurous endeavor. Things have gone downhill, Krotz says: Nowadays, tourism suggests a greedy industry capitalizing on ""hedonism, self-indulgence, and self-absorption."" He surveys travel and tourism from a broad perspective; more than just a diversion or adventure, these pursuits are a part of our culture, accounting for one in nine jobs and affecting education, entertainment, and the arts. Another element animating Krotz's inquiry is the idea that travel and tourism can be made responsible, encompassing ""reciprocation and exchange."" Among other programs, he cites Canadian futurist Louis D'Amore's International Institute for Peace Through Tourism, which is working to make tourism a process that sustains, rather than destroys, a host country's culture. Krotz makes a hopeful case for the future, though it's hard to match his enthusiasm for the subject. Most lasting and pungent are his observations--on Club Med, the ongoing principle of the class system in travel, his heartfelt visit to his ancestral home in Germany, and the reasons for traveling: ""Travel is not the way for us to forget or deny who we are; it should be, rather, a means of reminding us."" For sly social criticism of tourism, try Fussell or Eco; this is too earnest to compete. But if you want to look at this mass phenomenon seriously, here is the place to start.
Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1996
Page Count: 238
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1996
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