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Overbooked: Tourism's Rise As A Global Force


Elizabeth Becker, author, Overbooked

BY LEE HERNANDEZ -- Once reserved as a luxury for the wealthy, tourism and vacations have become a worldwide industry that employs as many as one in thirteen people globally.

That’s according to the new book “Overbooked” by author Elizabeth Becker.

“Tourism is very much a product of globalization which is the creation of a huge new middle class around the world,” Becker said in an interview on State of Nevada.  “It’s all how do you want to spend that extra money and around the world the answer has been ‘I want to travel and see what else is out there.’”

Becker never intended to visit Las Vegas while writing "Overbooked," saying it was too cliché, but the city  turned out to be a perfect example of everything that has changed in tourism.  “Now you are depending on meetings and conventions, and making the people from around the country and around the world enjoy themselves," Becker said. "It’s much more middle class now, much less risk taking.”

In “Overbooked,” Becker also highlights medical tourism as one of the new worldwide growing trends in the travel industry. “It’s part of the ability to turn anything into a vacation,” Becker said.  “Americans -- even after the passage of what is now known as ‘Obamacare’ --  Americans still don’t have the kind of health insurance they want or can afford, and as they come up against big ticket health problems, they are being wooed more and more by foreign countries.”

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Other, even bigger-ticket surgeries, Becker said, are now being done in Southeast Asia in countries like Malaysia, Bangkok and India where you can get an operation at a fraction of the cost with a vacation package thrown in with your medical care.