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Whole tourism systems: An academic portrait of Neil Leiper
journal contributionposted on 20.12.2017, 00:00 by E Backer, Nerilee HingNerilee Hing
We are honoured and delighted to have the opportunity to write an academic portrait on Professor Neil Leiper who dedicated three decades of his life to academe prior to passing away on the 14 February 2010 from a brain tumour. He earned an international reputation as a leading tourism scholar. The contribution that he made was captured brilliantly by Pheroza Daruwalla, whose statement appeared on the back cover of the third edition of Neil’s Tourism Management textbook (Leiper, 2004): Neil Leiper is one of the best, most profound thinkers and writers internationally in his field. Especially noteworthy is his ability to clearly explain and describe their relevance to real world practices and issues. Neil is perhaps best known for his whole tourism systems work, which can be found as the basis for understanding tourism in any foundation tourism textbook. However, for those who had the opportunity to know Neil either through working with him as a colleague, being supervised by him, or talking to him at a conference, he is also known for his deep intellect, humour, and humbleness. Such an example of humbleness is evidenced by his extraordinarily brief biography supporting his Tourism Management book (Leiper, 2004), which is restricted to his affiliation:- “Neil Leiper is Professor of Tourism Management at Southern Cross University, New South Wales”. He wouldn’t have seen the point of saying anything more about himself. The structure of this academic portrait is in four main sections. It begins by providing a brief outline regarding Neil’s life. This portrait then provides personal reflections to give the readers insights into the person. This portrait then provides an outline of the history of some of Neil’s publications, before outlining Neil’s key research achievements. These authors have deliberately chosen to offer personal reflections prior to the research achievements to provide a more insightful narrative for the reader regarding his achievements. The personal insights outline some of Neil’s mentoring, thinking, idiosyncrasies, and ideas that these authors enjoyed in their capacities as colleagues, and in the case of this paper’s lead author, PhD student. These authors felt that appreciation of Neil’s research would be heightened through appreciating the individual.