Lost in the Travel Pages: The Global Industry Hiding Inside the Sunday Newspaper

By Elizabeth Becker

A paper by Elizabeth Becker, spring 2008 fellow, explores why the business side of travel is so seldom covered by journalists – and the implications. Despite being a fast-growing, $7 trillion international industry that impacts cities and wilderness, sometimes quite negatively, the effects of tourism get “a pass from the media,” according to Becker. She describes how travel sections evolved from “a cross between the literary genre of travel writing and public relations firms promoting tourism,” with few clear reporting standards. Coverage of the tourism industry, according to more than one dozen travel editors interviewed for the paper, belonged in the business section of the newspaper. Yet business sections rarely cover tourism – leaving a significant gap in coverage of issues related to globalization. This paper resulted in the book, Overbooked: The Global Business of Travel and Tourism.

Download the paper (PDF).