Tourism and Sustainable Development

Tourism and Sustainable DevelopmentJörn W. Mundt: Tourism and Sustainable Development. Reconsidering a Concept of Vague Policies. Berlin: ESV; 205 S.; 39,95 €

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Sustainability is a central term in today`s political rhetoric. At the same time, sustainable development is one of the notions which mainly base on an intuitive public understanding and mark ideas almost nobody would deny. Thus, even in scientific discourse and particularly in tourism the term ‘sustainability’ is often being used without scrutiny.

This volume by Jörn W. Mundt contributes to a deeper understanding of the concept of sustainability by

  • providing a closer look at the original definition and
  • reviewing its conceptual history which helps to untangle the terminological confusion.

Finally, the book demonstrates that ‘sustainable tourism’ cannot be a political objective in its own right and is only achievable within the context of an overall sustainable economy.

An interdisciplinary and overarching critique of the modern concept of sustainability and its application to tourism!

„Mundt provides a fascinating, powerfully argued and extremely readable account which (…) convincingly challenges current thinking about sustainable development.“

„Tourism academics have for many years ignored the context of the theories and approaches of tourism within other discipline areas; this book has provided this well.“

„Provocative in nature, the text offers a well argued critique of the field of sustainable tourism policy, while the historical commentary and situating sustainable tourism within a wider context of the problematized field of sustainability science is also of value. … [T]his text presents a critique of tourism and its relationship with sustainable development that is both engaging and necessary, making a valuable contribution to the field by encouraging tourism academics to look beyond its ramparts, though it is perhaps not for those wanting to remain within the confines of a comfortable tourism academic bubble!“

„Because of its use of compelling examples and comprehensive explanation of its argument, this book is a very enjoyable read and relevant for anyone with an interest in sustainable development and tourism. Even though not a textbook, it is an approachable and engaging read for students whilst offering food for thought for academics at the same time. It should be compulsory reading for those teaching in the growing number of courses and degrees proudly sporting the term ‘sustainability’.“

„The book’s key strength is its critique of the sustainability principle. It differs from other sustainable tourism volumes which often adopt an uncritical perspective of the concept, often positioning it as easily implementable. This volume not only delves on the theoretical perspectives of sustainability, but also on the praciticalities and impracticalities of applying the sustainability principle to development processes. The book will appeal to post-graduate students, researchers as well as practitioners who wish [to] re-visit the concept of sustainable tourism. However, it may not be suitable for undergraduate students who may find the book diffcult to understand and follow as the language is sometimes philosophical and complex. Nevertheless, Jörn Mundt deserves to be congratulated for writing this critical piece and for encouraging reseachers to think ‚outside the box‘ when using the sustainablity principle.“

„[T]he author makes a wide reference to political, social and environmental studies, and provides examples from different temporal and spatial settings, thus broadening the ’sustainability‘ platform and placing tourism in a wider context. The supporting evidence is drawn from academic publications and up-todate policy papers. This makes the book an appropriate reference source and an interesting read for tourism researchers and professionals.“

„Das vorliegende Werk ist ein gelungener Beitrag zur kontroversen wie zur anspruchsvollen Zielsetzung für eine bessere touristische Welt.“

Jörn W. Mundt
Jörn W. Mundt (Melbourne 2007; photo by Lyndall M. Jones)