Date of Award

8-2006

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Resource Economics and Policy

Advisor

Kathleen P. Bell

Second Committee Member

Todd Gabe

Third Committee Member

George Criner

Abstract

Tourism is unique as a tool for economic development due to the intrusion it implies into host communities. Considering host communities as being, in part, producers of the environment attracting tourists to an area, understanding how host communities perceive costs and benefits is crucial to the development of sustainable economic development through tourism plans. To analyze host community perceptions of tourism, a substantial resident attitudes towards tourism literature has examined the influence of factors including community attachment, the physical and economic distance to tourism, and demographics. This thesis contributes to this literature by introducing additional statistical methods to further investigate the relationship between attitudes and physical distance to tourism. Specifically, the role of physical distance is investigated using ordered and multinomial logit modeling frameworks where resident support for the development of tourism within their town of residence is compared to their support for the development of tourism within their county. Similar methodologies are employed in a preliminary effort towards the characterization of business attitudes towards tourism. Results from both resident and business analyses are compared and suggestions are made for community-wide economic development through tourism efforts.

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