Pro-Poor Tourism as a Strategy to Fight Rural Poverty: A Critique

Jordi Gascón*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Pro-poor tourism (PPT) is a development methodology that aims to use tourism as a tool for poverty reduction. PPT has been adopted by multilateral institutions, official development agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). PPT assumes an absolute definition of poverty that is based on net income. This definition allows the consideration of a tourism initiative as 'pro-poor' even though the income earned by the poor population may be marginal. This paper analyses whether PPT's concept of poverty adequately addresses the issues in rural poverty. We analyse one case of unequal distribution of income generated from tourism in the 1990s (Amantaní Island, Perú). The paper concludes that PPT's concept of poverty circumvents the fact that an unequal distribution of income could imply a loss in the quality of life for the majority of a rural population: the high-income social sector tends to increase its economic and political power to the detriment of other social sectors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-518
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Agrarian Change
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015


  • Development cooperation
  • Peasant differentiation
  • Pro-poor tourism
  • Rural poverty
  • Rural tourism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Archaeology
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology


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