BOOK REVIEW

International Business Travel in the Global Economy
Edited by Jonathan Beaverstock, Ben Derudder, James Faulconbridge, Frank Witlox (eds)

Business travel receives relatively little attention both in scientific literature and in the media, and when it does get attention, it is mostly negative. Often, it is seen as a costly toy for the rich and famous. This book gives travel for business purposes the attention it deserves, and it paints a balanced, multifaceted picture of it.
A Book Review by Hans Heerkens

Written by a number of experts in the field of transport, geography, urban development, business, sociology and related fields, this book offers a truly multidisciplinary look into business travel. Subjects covered include the development of business travel in the past decades in terms of numbers of travelers, routes and modes of travel (business jets, scheduled flights with airlines in Business Class), reasons for business traveling, types of business travelers, the role of traveling and mobility for organizations, the effects of business travel on both the organizations that sent their employees on their way and on the travelers themselves, and more philosophical issues, like the effects of business aviation on the democratization of air travel. The perspectives have a primarily socio-geographical and managerial nature. Technical areas, like aircraft operation, business models for operators and the suitability of the various types of airliners and business jets for business travel, are not covered. Very Light Jets are mentioned only briefly, whereas helicopters not at all. This is not a drawback however, as the book is comprehensive enough as it is. The statistical data that the book provides, as well as their sources, are valuable for researchers in the field of business travel, but the main value of the book are the fascinating new insights that can easily change one’s general view on the public function and nature of business travel. No longer is this form of transport reserved for the happy few: maintenance engineers, consultants, salespeople, and ‘knowledge workers’ in general form the bulk of business travelers in a globalized, knowledge-intensive and efficiency-focused economy. To many of them, business travel does not mean flying in a Gulfstream or Falcon jet, but in the same airliner as vacationers, where the comforts of business class enable them to arrive at their destination relatively rested and ready for work. The negative effects of business travel on personal relationships can be considerable and deservedly receive attention in the book. The notion that electronic technologies, such as video conferencing, will, in the foreseeable future,

make business travel obsolete is dispelled. If anything, the two reinforce each other; preparation using videoconferencing can make a business trip more effective.

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Something I feel would have added to the value of the book is an overall model or scheme to put the various contributions into one overarching perspective: not necessarily a sophisticated

theoretical framework, but a way to visually give each chapter its place in the total context of the book. It would have made it easier for the reader to link similar or identical subjects covered in more than one chapter to each other, like motives for business travel. But to the more knowledgeable reader in particular, this is not a big issue. All in all This book is valuable for those who want an introduction into a broad range of aspects of business travel, but it also acts as a starting point for students of a particular area of this type of aviation, with ample references for further study. Basic knowledge of aviation, economy and business is helpful as this is not a textbook, and the book seems to be more directed at scholars than at professionals. One would almost wish that the valuable material in this book would be ‘packaged’ in a special edition, specifically aimed at company managers and travel policymakers. About the editors
Jonathan Beaverstock is Professor of Economic Geography at the University of Nottingham, UK. Ben Derudder is Lecturer of Human Geography and Associate Director of the ‘Globalization and World Cities’ research network. James Faulconbridge is Lecturer of Economic Geography at the Lancaster University, UK. Frank Witlox is Professor of Economic Geography at Ghent University.

About the reviewer
Hans Heerkens is Assistant Processor at Twente University (Netherlands) on the subjects of aerospace industry and decision theory.

Bibliographical details
Authors: Jonathan V. Beaverstock, Ben Derudder, James Faulconbridge & Frank Witlox (Ed.). Title: International business travel in the global economy Publisher: Ashgate Publishing Publication date: February 2010 (2010). ISBN: 978-0-7546-7942-4.

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