Graduation Date

Fall 2017

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Social Science, Environment and Community

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Gregg Gold

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Steven Martin

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Dr. Ara Pachmayer

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Environment and Community


Catalina Island, located off the coast of Southern California, has been a tourist destination for over 100 years and continues to draw large numbers of visitors. This study seeks to determine the attitudes of permanent residents of Catalina Island toward past, current, and future development and tourism on the island. Local communities of destination areas are often excluded from having input toward tourism development which affects their daily lives. This thesis examines Catalina Island residents’ personal accounts concerning their opinions about tourism, current and future tourism plans, and community involvement. This research employed a mixed method approach including, participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and door-to-door surveys of over 100 Catalina Island residents. The study’s findings show that while most residents are in favor of increasing tourism on the island, their support was mostly economically driven. A majority of the respondents reported that they rely on tourism for their livelihoods, but many expressed that they feel powerless and excluded in regards to community planning and development. Respondents were generally forthcoming with their concerns, but also shared that they feel vulnerable about speaking publicly due to their town’s small size and one company’s majority ownership of the island.

Citation Style