Tourism and Planning offers a coherent vision of the diverse pressures and needs for planning tourist development centred around sustainability. It offers a good range of tools with which to think, rather than a mechanical manual of techniques to apply.
Some students may want rather more fixed rules and procedures to follow. Instead, Michael Hall quite deliberately tries to avoid the pitfalls of over-rationalist approaches, by looking at the planning process in a pluralised manner.
He helpfully lays out the ranges of scales, different actors and frameworks that can shape planning processes, and carefully illustrates how different schools of thought would approach issues.
He challenges students to think about their own positions, inclinations and objectives, making this not an easy but ultimately a rewarding text.
A student following it through would develop a good sense of approaches that have developed in different contexts for the planning of tourism - which means the book is better suited to students of tourism looking at planning than vice versa.
The core argument is for an integrated-systems approach offering the flexibility to cover changing circumstances, actors and scales.
However, in a world of fluid categories and actors, the neat diagrams need, I think, Michael Mann's warning that societies are messier than our theories of them. It is perhaps inevitably "planner-centric", for instance, four of seven problems concerning public participation are the "fault" of public misunderstanding and three are caused for planners by the public.
Nevertheless, for a book working with this brief, it will provide a helpful overview of issues in thinking through the implications of tourism developments.
Mike Crang is lecturer in geography, University of Durham.
Tourism and Planning. First Edition
Author - C. Michael Hall
ISBN - 0 582 32028 3
Publisher - Prentice Hall
Price - £16.99
Pages - 236