Date of Award
Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy (ES&P)
International Development, Community and Environment
The Bocas del Toro archipelago of Panama has seen a rapid growth in its tourism industry since the 1990s. From a neoliberal perspective, tourism development is beneficial for all. Alternatively, I analyze the recent, rapid tourism development in Bocas from a critical development theoretical perspective, identifying its positive and negative implications, as well as who they accrue to. While there are economic benefits to tourism in Bocas, only foreign investors, the Panamanian government and English-speaking residents appear to earn them. The Bocas residents, and indigenous Ngöbe residents in particular, suffer from a range of economic, sociocultural, environmental and land access challenges stemming from tourism that exacerbate and create new forms of inequality. In order to achieve socioenvironmental justice in Bocas, a sustainable, community-based ecotourism alternative should be considered.
Bourque, Olivia R., "Analyzing the Recent, Rapid Tourism Development in Panama's Bocas del Toro Archipelago: Is Socioenvironmental Justice Attainable?" (2016). International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE). 19.