January 2015

BOOK REVIEW: Sustainable Tourism, Small Scale Solutions by Susan M. Guyette, Ph.D.



In her award-winning book, Sustainable Cultural Tourism, Small Scale Solutions, author Susan M. Guyette, Ph.D., of Santa Fe, casts a new light on the tourist industry. She assigns a constellation of interesting, helpful and well-conceived cultural, social and economic terms and definitions that call for a more sensitive, responsible and enriching experience for both the tourist and the host community. Best of all, the book’s content is useful, clearly written and within the grasp of a professional or layperson.


In a region such as northern New Mexico, where tourism is one of the leading industries and a central part of many cultural activities, this 300-plus-page book is a must for anyone wishing to do a superb job in the field. Filled with easy-to-understand tools for inventorying assets, planning strategically and assessing outcomes, Sustainable Cultural Tourism ought to find its way to any educational institution that prepares people for this industry. Agencies from across the world, especially in developing nations, whose mission is to create sustainable tourism built on sound economic principles and deep social and cultural understandings, would do well to use it as their guide.


The book is an innovative tool for both communities and sustainable-development assistance providers. It includes a step-by-step approach for cultural-tourism planning and sustainable community development. Additionally, the book offers compelling arguments for adopting a regional and collaborative approach to hosting people who come from near or far, given that international tourism is growing by leaps and bounds.


The book also contains strategies for cultural retention and teaching programs, as well as guidelines for culturally based entrepreneurial programs and small-enterprise development. Guyette shares a process for developing a cultural center and techniques for writing a business plan and starting a culturally based tour enterprise.


With her over 25 years of experience in planning for the tourist industry, especially in the Pueblo Indian communities of New Mexico, Guyette succeeds in addressing practically every important concern that has a bearing on the success of tourist initiatives that depend on regional and culturally specific communities. She recognizes that many communities need to make the most of their cultural and natural assets to create spaces, places, products and activities that enrich their lives and the lives of others who are willing to pay for such experiences.


Due to her unique knowledge, Guyette’s book breaks new and important ground in the understanding of tourism as well as in understanding and experiencing Native and ethnic communities across the country. This book was awarded the first-place New Mexico and Arizona Book Award in the anthropology category.


Alejandro López

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