2018-2019 Global Development Studies Senior Thesis Projects

Sara Burke '19

Project Title: Demystifying Poverty and Tourism: Looking into Pro-Poor Tourism in India

Summary: Poverty and tourism have a unique relationship; poverty can serve as a form of tourism or poverty can create barriers that hinder the development of the tourism sector. There is no better example of the complicated interplay between poverty and tourism than India.Pro-Poor Tourism (PPT) is not a kind of tourism, but rather a method that can be applied to any form of tourism which helps the poor benefit from the sector. The first part of this paper focuses on Pro-Poor Tourism in an academic context; through unpacking the viability of PPT and understanding the different viewpoints on PPT this section looks at including urban poor populations into the PPT conversation. Part two focuses on India as a case study. India is a highly mystified country with poverty severing as the foundation of this romanticized view. India as an economy has been growing exponentially over the past decade and tourism is no outlier. The final section looks at Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices in India, and puts forth a policy suggestion for the Oberoi Hotel Group for more pro-poor CSR projects. This paper shows how small changes in the way that consumers interact with the tourism sector can have a big impact on the perceptions and outcomes of local communities.