Date of Award

Spring 2017

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Li Yang

Second Advisor

Dr. Gregory Veeck

Third Advisor

Dr. David Lemberg

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

This thesis examines the attitudes and perceptions of local residents in regards to tourism development and local community participation, as well as their willingness to participate in the tourism planning process. The data was obtained from a household survey questionnaire conducted in the municipal district of Verón - Punta Cana in the province of La Altagracia in the Dominican Republic. The sites selected for this study include Juanillo, Verón, and Friusa. Through several Chi-square (χ2) analyses, this thesis is able to conclude that residents in Friusa and Verón share positive perceptions in regards to tourism development when compared to residents in Juanillo. Regarding residents’ attitudes towards local community participation, participants are found to share positive responses regardless of the site or socio-economic variables. This thesis also reveals that local residents in Verón and Friusa are more willing to participate in tourism planning processes when compared to those in Juanillo. Finally, it is shown that participants with positive attitudes and perceptions of tourism development and local community participation are more likely to be willing to participate in tourism planning processes than participants with negative attitudes and perceptions. Although some differences exist between study areas, a more successful tourism planning approach can be achieved by understanding the reasons for such attitudes and perceptions and integrating them into future tourism planning policies and practices.

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