Date of Award

1991

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs

Abstract

This thesis examines the impacts of tourism on the residents of Block Island. More specifically the study seeks to identify the specific areas of concern, as perceived by the residents, in three major areas of impact: economic, social and environmental. It was hypothesized that the residents of Block Island, a mature tourist destination area, had formulated perceptions of the impacts of tourism and that these perceptions, if analyzed, would identify protection of the environment and threats to the Island's lifestyle as major concerns. Factor analysis was employed to analyze survey responses from residents on questions regarding tourism on Block Island. The results of that analysis suggest that residents are indeed concerned with protection of the environment and threats to their lifestyle. Residents perceived tourists' disregard for the Island's fragile environment and the social disruptions experienced during the peak season as root causes for their concerns. Residents also feel that tourists have an uncaring attitude towards the Islander's lifestyle. Importantly, however, the findings also indicated that the residents of the Island clearly acknowledged the positive economic and social benefits associated with tourism. In identifying the positive and negative impacts associated with tourism the residents believe that in order to maintain the lifestyle and environment they desire they need to maintain as much control as possible over off-Island economic interests and the physical number of tourists arriving on the Island.