Date of Award

2004

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Marine Affairs

Department

Marine Affairs

First Advisor

Richard Pollnac

Abstract

The present work presents the results of survey research conducted in 23 coastal communities of the Dominican Republic to evaluate the impacts of tourism and also the evaluation of a particular co-management system of a tourism-related activity (whale watching in Samaná Bay). Major findings include that tourism is having a positive impact on rural livelihoods as measured by increased household income, and higher levels of job satisfaction (and in the case of female-headed households, also improved material well-being). We also evidenced strong local support for the tourism industry caused by wide agreement on perceived tourism benefits; however, residents are also concerned about increases in prostitution (particularly child prostitution), drug use, crime, alcoholism, deterioration of moral values, and an increasing foreign influence on the communities. The study also identified personal and community factors that affect local perceptions of tourism and the likelihood of having a tourism-dependent occupation. Of these, the level and type of tourism seem the most relevant. Regarding whale watching co-management., the system implemented in Samaná appears to be fairly successful, and provides an example of the role external agents (in this case a non-governmental organization) can play in establishing such regimes, as well as suggests the importance of tourism in generating incentives for resource management at the local level.

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