Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

E. Christian Wells


Cultural Tourism, Heritage, Honduras


This thesis examines the relationship between mass tourism and heritage tourism in the construction and perpetuation of histories and identities of local stakeholders on Roatàn Island, Honduras. I explore how identity is constructed by and through the tourism industry, and how much of the agency in forming identity and telling cultural stories resides in the hands of key stakeholders involved in the development of tourism on the island. Local cultural stories that focus on the people who live and have lived on the island for centuries are becoming increasingly silenced by a more commoditized, tourism driven, picture of life on Roatàn. Here, I examine how this silencing takes place, what its effects are on tourism and development, and consider what elements of the tourism industry have contributed to this silencing. On Roatàn, the issue of identity as interpreted through museums has become increasingly contested, as the tourism industry now controls the presentation of cultural and archaeological history of the island. This control influences how tourists visiting Roatàn interpret the past and present the heritage of local groups.