Date of Award

Spring 5-2013

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Geography and Geology

Committee Chair

David Cochran

Committee Chair Department

Geography and Geology

Committee Member 2

Bandana Kar

Committee Member 2 Department

Geography and Geology

Committee Member 3

Mark Miller

Committee Member 3 Department

Geography and Geology


Tourism is increasingly viewed and promoted as a viable and sustainable option for economic growth in developing countries. However, despite the rise of tourism and the growing popularity of hazard-prone destinations, little research has been done to assess the vulnerability of many tourism communities. What work has been done has focused primarily on post-shock management and planning without identifying underlying factors of vulnerability such plans would ideally mitigate. The goal of this thesis is to develop a methodology for assessing vulnerability in tourism communities in the developing world by assessing the vulnerability of the Nicaraguan community of San Juan del Sur. In 1992, the community was heavily damaged by a large tsunami. Since that event, the community has rebuilt and is now experiencing a boom in tourism. Field work conducted in the community suggests San Juan del Sur is highly exposed to future tsunami events and has heightened sensitivity to the effects of an event due to its heavy reliance on tourism activity.