Book review - Reworking Tourism: Diverse Economies in a Changing World

Bernard M. Kitheka (Department of Kinesiology, Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri, USA)

Journal of Tourism Futures

ISSN: 2055-5911

Article publication date: 15 April 2021

Issue publication date: 4 June 2021



Kitheka, B.M. (2021), "Book review - Reworking Tourism: Diverse Economies in a Changing World", Journal of Tourism Futures, Vol. 7 No. 1, pp. 149-150.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Bernard M. Kitheka.


Published in Journal of Tourism Futures. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at

The challenges facing our generation, from the current pandemic to accelerated climate change, extinction of species, increasing poverty and social injustices, are pushing us to rethink mainstream tourism as we have always known it. Or perhaps a rethink of the way tourism has always been presented to societies that depend heavily on the industry as a solution to underdevelopment and poverty. This text, Reworking Tourism: diverse economies in a changing world, provides us examples where communities and destinations are challenging existing socioeconomic paradigms that perpetuate dependency, overexploitation and overconsumption in the tourism arena.

Edited by renown tourism scholars, Jenny Cave and Dianne Dredge, the main text is contributed by 20 authors, 19 of whom are responsible-tourism activists and accomplished academics teaching in higher education. One author is an executive officer with a leading airline company. Dr Cave is an Associate Professor in tourism enterprise at Swansea University, Wales. Dr Dredge is the Director the Tourism CoLab, a Visiting Professor at Lund University, Sweden, and an Adjunct Professor in tourism at the Federation University, Australia.

The book, originally published as a special issue by the journal of Tourism Planning & Development, is divided in to nine chapters – chapter one being an introduction to the text. The main purpose of the book is to explore diverse and alternative economies in tourism, framed around a variety of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The book challenges the entrenched notion of tourism that is traditionally driven by unforgiving forces of capitalism and globalization. Each chapter is case study representing the following country destinations: Malta, New Zealand, Denmark, Italy, Cuba, Ecuador and Fiji. Using the editors’ global classification of countries and regions, five of the destinations belong in the Global North (wealthy, mostly western countries), and three belong in the Global South (developing and least developed countries).

In terms of methodologies and data analysis, nearly all the articles lean heavily on qualitative methods, particularly ethnography. Data collection methods include in-depth and semi-structured interviews, field visits, participant observations and secondary data review. Few of the studies administered questionnaire surveys or performed quantitative data analysis.

The book covers a diversity of topics including tourism linkage to indigenous communities, collaborative management of natural resources, cultural events and nature-based enterprises. Following on its promise, the text pursues an alternative economy angle that seeks to reimage tourism and shift the powerbase from corporations, markets forces and, to some extent, the traveler. The authors advocate for not just empowerment of host communities but also an appreciation of their cultures, economic spaces and systems of governance that have allowed them to harmoniously coexist with landscapes and biotic systems over time.

Each narrative confronts the ubiquitous injustices promulgated by mainstream tourism. If not for anything else, the authors help inspire those individuals and organizations that have been in the forefront fighting the negative forces of capitalism that push disadvantaged communities to the margins of poverty and dependence. The chapters echo each other in advocating for a future tourism that is fair and transformative at individual and community levels. The world is changing. To remain relevant, tourism has to change too. This is the mantra of the book.

However, by virtue of being exclusively peer-reviewed content and owing to the novel nature of the issues covered (in line with the Journal of Tourism Futures’ aims and scope), the text is most suited to academics, economists, graduate student and, perhaps, higher-level economic students. In particular, I would highly recommend the text for scholars and graduate students interested in the linkage between tourism, local communities, rural economies and sustainable development.

About the author

Dr Bernard M. Kitheka is based at the Department of Kinesiology, Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri, USA. Bernard Kitheka is Assistant Professor at Missouri State University. His research and teaching interests include ecotourism, the intersection between tourism and sustainable development, human dimensions of parks and recreation, urban sustainability, tourism and society, citizen empowerment and the value of play across generations.

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