2018-2019 Global Development Studies Senior Thesis Projects

Anja Stokes '19

Project Title: Tradeoffs Associated with Tourism as a Rural Development Strategy in Low-Income Countries

Summary: The tourism industry generates some 10.2% of global GDP and the industry offers unique opportunities for development through community participation in the world’s Low-Income Countries (LICs), particularly for women and youth. Despite significant contributions by the tourism sector, poverty remains prevalent and income inequality has actually increased. Growth on its own is simply not enough to reduce poverty. It is apparent that measures must be taken to ensure participation of marginalized groups who are often left out of growth and development including rural and indigenous populations. Rural indigenous communities are often unaccounted for in traditional measures of development, making the Capabilities Approach the best alternative framework to study them. Using Tanzania as a case study, this project demonstrates that as a result of community participation in tourism, indigenous cultures are changing in a number of ways which are understood differently by various stakeholders. Focus on youth vocational training and providing space for cultural tourism discussion and decision-making can help community members become larger stakeholders in tourism, reducing tourism leakages and ensuring a more equal distribution of benefits among stakeholders.