"In 2012 the world passed the 1 billion mark for international trips," writes former New York Times correspondent Becker (America’s Vietnam War, 1992, etc.), who provides an extensive exposé on the benefits and detriments of tourism.
Travel is the largest global industry in the world, with poor countries ranking the business just behind oil and energy development as the means to end poverty. Magazines and newspapers are filled with glamorous photos and comprehensive reports of the best beaches, hotels and restaurants in the world, but until now, there have been few significant reports about the effects on these sites. Becker holds nothing back as she describes the destruction and pollution created by the hordes that crowd the ancient cities, seashores and national parks of the world. The desire to see, touch and experience foreign cultures has brought jobs to millions and revenues that support many countries, but it has also caused water shortages, the destruction of shorelines, billions of pounds of garbage and raw sewage, and an increase in sex trafficking worldwide. Hotels and restaurants bring needed jobs to poverty-stricken regions, but the hours are long and the wages low; many workers, like those toiling in the construction industry in Dubai, are forced to live in labor camps, crammed a dozen or more to a room. Cruise ships offer every amenity and an excess of shopping opportunities while dumping sewage and oily bilge water and spewing forth toxic levels of exhaust. In the tourism industry, image is definitely everything, but Becker shows readers the flip side of all this luxury and play, exposing the seedy underbelly of a business gone haywire from Cambodia to the United States.
An in-depth and compelling disclosure of the changes needed to protect the world's travel sites while maintaining a good profit margin.