2018-2019 Global Development Studies Senior Thesis Projects

Wildes Ho '19

Project Title: Tourism and Poverty Alleviation

Summary: The rise of mass tourism in the last few decades has transformed corners of the world that were previously isolated. Globalization has allowed for efficient and affordable ways of travel, and many countries have opened their borders in order to encourage tourism. Growing mass tourism raises many concerns for scholars and environmentalists, including environmental degradation, destruction of cultural locations due to increased human traffic, exploitation of local populations, and inflation. Most of the concerns about negative impacts of mass tourism have one thing in common: the effect on local people in low-income countries. Due to these concerns, other forms of tourism have emerged, including ecotourism, volunteer tourism, and community-based tourism. These types of tourism try to address the concerns about mass tourism, and make efforts to spread the benefits of tourism more equally among the population. Using Cambodia as a case study, this thesis concludes that volunteer tourism and community-based tourism do not play a direct role in alleviating poverty. However, they do offer other benefits that improve the quality of life for those interacting with tourism.