Poverty and tourism have a unique relationship; poverty can serve as a form of tourism or poverty can create barriers that hinder the development of the tourism sector. There is no better example of the complicated interplay between poverty and tourism than India. The use of Pro-Poor Tourism (PPT) as a methodological lense that can be applied to any form of tourism shows howthe poor can benefit from the sector. This International Political Economy thesis is broken into three parts: a context section, a case study, and a policy proposal. The first part will focus on Pro-Poor Tourism in an academic context; through unpacking the viability of PPT and understanding the different viewpoints on PPT this section looks at including urban poor populations into the PPT conversation. Part two focuses on India as a case study. The growth of the tourism sector combined with romanticized imagery of India presents a case study that shows how governments and companies engage in poverty and tourism. Looking at how India tackles poverty and tourism is key for understanding how other low and middle income countries can implement PPT. The final section looks at Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices in India, and puts forth a policy suggestion for the Oberoi Hotel Group for more pro-poor CSR projects. This paper shows how small changes in the way that consumers interact with the tourism sector can have a big impact on the perceptions and outcomes of local communities.

First Advisor

Nick Kontogeorgopoulos

Degree Type


Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2019