Brittany Davis* - University of Arizona
In many developing coastal locations, tourism and conservation are increasingly coming into conflict as local communities strive to achieve the supposed benefits of both simultaneously. Researchers working in these locations are positioned to work with local people in the struggle in the struggle to create just economic, social, and cultural spaces within tourism, conservation, and development. This paper focuses on the difficulties faced by a small island, Útila, Honduras, that has become a prime destination for scuba divers, leading to the growth of a backpacker- and diver- oriented tourism economy. I argue that without a local social movement aimed at creating more equitable spaces, Utilians will continue to experience economic and environmental injustice as the needs and desires of tourists take priority over those of the local community. As such, I argue that while hope is a useful concept, standing by the wayside while the communities within which we work and live struggle is troubling. In such cases, clearly articulating that there is a geography of hope and making people aware of the terrain available for struggles that can lead to greater justice and inclusion should be included in our practice of geographies of social and environmental justice.