As readers of the earlier book would expect, it's a project Hickman pursues intelligently and thoroughly: instead of visiting a handful of notorious eco-disgrace resorts, he takes in Asia (China, India, Thailand), the Americas (United States, Mexico, Costa Rica), Europe (Estonia, France, Spain, Britain), the Middle East (Dubai) and the aviation industry.
And whether a destination specialises in skiing, sex, golf, shopping, wildlife, clubbing or paradisal beaches, he finds that tourism is usually a “pernicious disease”, wrecking environments, exploiting instead of enriching locals, recklessly consuming resources and accelerating climate change. He provides sensible recommendations, however, on how governments and individual tourists could make travel less toxic.
Other writers might have contented themselves with aloof tut-tutting; what makes The Final Call absorbing as well as persuasive is that Hickman illuminatingly talks to people ranging from fishermen and bar girls to developers and activists.
The Final Call: Investigating Who Really Pays for Our Holidays
Eden Project Books/Guardian Books, 2008
-- By John Dugdale
Copyright Guardian News and Media Limited 2008