Neil Leiper was an influential tourism scholar who died in February 2010. The paper provides a review of his work and his contribution to tourism studies. Four major themes are identified from the time of his first major publication in 1979 up until his death: tourism systems, partial industrialisation, tourist attraction systems and strategy. Works in the first three areas are identified as having a significant influence on tourism literature and the conceptualisation of tourism as a discipline and the manner in which it is defined for both research and educational purposes. The connections between theory and strategy are noted which led to an important tourism text as well as the development of several cases of business failures, which Leiper argues is a significant subject for tourism education. The review concludes by identifying his legacy for the study of tourism. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.