RESEARCH AND PRACTICE
IN HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

Book Review:
Tourism Management (3rd Ed.)
Author: Leiper, N.

Leiper, N., (2004). Tourism Management (3rd Ed.), Malaysia: Pearson Education Australia.

Reviewed by: Ray De Silva

It is an undeniable fact that the projected increase in global recreation and leisure activities will demand a significant enhancement of human resource capacity. In addition, there is growing acceptance that there is more to tourism than what has been traditionally understood and that a more comprehensive understanding of its breadth and depth is required. In anticipation of the former, and in line with the requirements of the latter, the third edition of Neil Leiper’s ‘Tourism Management’ text provides a sound introduction to the phenomenon of tourism and its associated systems. It is designed for newcomers and veterans alike, interested in developing or shaping their perspectives on tourism and managerial work in tourism studies. It is relevant as both a textbook for degree-level programs on tourism and as an important reference for human resource practitioners who are keen to be informed of the discussion of impacts and issues in modern tourism management.

The preface acknowledges that the broad structure and approach to the study of the principles, practices, and functions of tourism management spanning the three editions remain essentially unchanged. Although the differences between this edition and the 2003 version are very slight, more time and consideration has been given to the layout and presentation of textual material. This is evident through improved editing and the introduction of some new features including discussion questions and lists of recommended readings at the end of each chapter. These are complemented by a series of informative figures, diagrams, tables and photographs. The clear advantage of these additions is that they provide complementary tools to consolidate the learning process and offer empirical evidence of the theory in practice.

This textbook contains two parts. The first comprises nine chapters and offers an introduction to tourism and its management while the second part comprises seven chapters and contains case studies in the management of tourism industries. The latter emphasis on the industry approach to the management of tourism sets the book apart from many introductory tourism textbooks currently available. The opening chapters in Part One provide basic knowledge about tourism and an introduction to the principles of management in a way that first year undergraduates should be able to follow. Part Two contains chapters which are pitched at a more advanced level, suitable for those who are going beyond the basics and are in need of a more in-depth understanding of the complexities as would be the case in the middle and later stages of degree program. This more advanced material also distinguishes this text from most of its competitors.

Throughout the book, Leiper offers real-world examples, based on his obvious experience in Australia and the Asia-Pacific, demonstrating an in-depth awareness of the ways that modern tourism and associated industry trends have affected the role of tourism management in Australia and overseas. He reinforces a perspective that is becoming increasingly apparent to tourism researchers and practitioners alike. Tourism Management is not simply confined to administration within the tourism and hospitality setting, but is closely involved with all the major functions, processes and procedures that are practised and performed by the various areas associated with the tourism system as a whole. The second thing that stands out is the intensive scholarship. Leiper cites almost seven hundred works, and offers a twenty-two page bibliography of solid research sources from a wide variety of tourism-related fields. The foundation he lays for the tourism and tourism management, is meticulous, but quite readable, understandable, and convincing. In this respect, it can serve as a sound basis upon which an understanding of the knowledge and gaps of the management of tourism can be built.

Leiper confronts with candour the major strengths and weaknesses of the practices adopted when dealing with tourism management, planning, organisation, coordination and control, especially at the international level. He is refreshingly honest, and identifies the issues quite succinctly in his quest to define and describe the main objectives and current challenges of tourism management, and to elaborate on how the management process can be made most effective. The explanation of traditional perspectives is followed in some instances by alternative ideas. By deliberately challenging the conventional knowledge base, Leiper refrains from prescription and encourages readers to think through issues for themselves and to develop a deeper understanding of the subject. This alone can be used to justify the use of this edition as a principal text for tourism studies in the Australasian and Pacific region and as a supplementary reference for units on business management in tourism industries in other parts of the world.

It would be presumptuous, perhaps, to project a ‘what next’ scenario in terms of Leiper’s future contribution to the field of Tourism Management, however the conclusion of the text begs the following observation. The final chapter is replete with contemporary issues in tourism management, as Leiper presents a compilation of future challenges and directions that relate to tourism management in general, which constitutes a justification for the publication of future research. Leiper highlights an urgent need to address the future proactively and reminds us that a comprehensive guide to a systemic understanding of these issues is sorely lacking. If Leiper manages to do for these issues what he has done in “Tourism Management”, then both researchers and practitioners will have acquired another valuable tool for progressing tourism research and practice.

Ray De Silva
Curtin University of Technology