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The magic of travelling, exposing oneself to new cultures and experiences, can be a powerful experience for many people. At the same time, when travelling you can often witness the impact that this industry has on the culture and environment of many nations, which poses a problem for the conscious traveller. Is there a way to engage in this industry with ethics and integrity? Sustainable tourism is a growing industry about which there’s much to learn. Let these books inspire you to change the way you travel.


1) Overbooked: The Exploding Business Of Travel And Tourism By Elizabeth Becker

Elizabeth Becker exposes the dark side of travel in this journalistic takedown of a problematic industry. Beginning with the explosion of international travel that resulted at the end of the Cold War, Overbooked reveals the power of an industry that employs one in every twelve people around the world and the capacity of that industry to do huge damage. Becker’s book is itself a world tour as it explores the impact of tourism on everywhere from Angkor Wat to Costa Rica and explores the wide-ranging implications of global travel.


2) Taking Responsibility For Tourism By Harold Goodwin

 As a professor at Leeds and Manchester, Harold Goodwin literally wrote the book on sustainable tourism and you’re about to read it. Goodwin is one of the most esteemed voices in this industry and although Taking Responsibility has a more academic tone it’s still an exceptionally valuable read for those with either a personal or professional interest in responsible travel.

Activists, travellers, academics and policy makers will all learn something from this informative tome. Over the course of the book Goodwin builds a compelling argument that tourism needs to be developed with sustainability and responsible practices at their heart, and that ultimately tourism can be a source of good in the world. As a counter narrative to exploitative tourism, Goodwin is both persuasive and inspiring.


3) Going Local: Experiences And Encounters On The Road By Nicholas Kontis

 Nicholas Kontis’s 2016 book is written with a deep understanding of what modern travellers seek on their journey. For those who pursue sustainable tourism an experience of historic sites or bucket-list activities isn’t sufficient without a sense that the experience is authentic – that there is a genuine interaction with another culture taking place. With this in mind, Kontis’s account of his travelling experience is appealing to a modern reader as he speaks sensitively of his incredible travels.

“Inspirational accounts of globe-trotting adventure that will set off the wanderlust in anyone’s heart,” says Crystal Devries, travel writer at Uktopwriters and OXEssays “but what’s more is that Kontis explores the economic and environmental impact of those adventures with a highly conscious and informed tone. On his travels he immersed himself in other countries, abandoning western conceits and anyone seeking authentic experiences across the globe will learn from this practice.”


4) Sustainable Tourism On A Finite Planet By Megan Epler Wood

 As founder of The International Ecotourism Society, Megan Epler Wood knows a few things about sustainable travel and her book begins with the simple premise that resources on our planet are finite and we must find ways to preserve them. Lucia Jacobson, sustainability expert at Big Assignments and Revieweal tells how “Wood explores tourism from an angle that prioritises the environment, and as such leaves cultural impact relatively unexplored. The book is nevertheless engaging and highlights the importance of sustainable environmental practices in international travel.”


5) Sustainable Escapes By Lonely Planet

 Lonely Planet have been creating valuable travel guides for decades and their contribution to sustainable tourism comes in their book Sustainable Escapes. This book contains 180 environmentally sound trips to give you itchy feet, each of which has been examined in-depth and signed off by Lonely Planet journalists. Whether you’re actively planning a trip or just enjoying the daydreaming, the eco-lodges and wildlife tours contained within its pages will inspire you to change the way you travel and promote sustainability through your own tourism practices in the future.


Sustainability is increasingly important in a world of dwindling resources and whether it’s the Amazon jungle or the Saudi desert every landscape is being impacted by tourism. These five engaging books will inspire your next trip and change the way you think about travel. Bon voyage!



Katherine Rundell is a writer at Best Essay Services and Top Writing Services websites. She’s an explorer at heart and loves an adventure that prioritises sustainability and ethical travel. She also works as a tutor at Top Canadian Writers service.

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