Being a relatively new phenomenon, sustainable tourism presents a multitude of problems that must be researched. In my time on the Island of Ometepe, I aimed to find out how foreign-run, seemingly environmentally-friendly tourist locations interacted with the local people. In the literature I found that sustainable tourism is a complex matter; prone to both true possibility and dreadful potentialities. I draw heavily on the theories of neoliberalism from Harvey and Foucault. I additionally look at how ecocommunitarians would address the problem of sustainable tourism. My research pointed very obviously to the fact that the location I lived in and studied was a strong example of failed sustainable tourism. The business-first model it employed served to alienate locals from tourists. The only interaction which connected the two groups was via economic means. Most importantly, the tourist location was not community focused. The community-first model of sustainable tourism allows for mutual ownership and a greater distribution of benefits. Likewise, the environmentally sustainable aspects of the community were simply non-existent past a surface level environmentality. In the end, I offer recommendations for how the tourism site and the local people could work together towards achieving some level of sustainable tourism. Unfortunately, it might be too late to right all the wrongs. This study provides an insight into the functioning of businesses in modernity and should allow the reader to see how various businesses employ the same business-first model.


Tierney, Thomas


Sociology and Anthropology


Community-Based Research | Demography, Population, and Ecology | Place and Environment | Rural Sociology | Tourism | Work, Economy and Organizations


Sustainable tourism, ecotourism, neoliberalism, ecocommunitarianism, Nicaragua, tourism, environment, sustainable development

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2016 Cullen T. Dolson