Year of Graduation


Document Type



International Studies

Directing Professor

Ashleigh Breske, Darla Schumm. Jon Bohland


The tourism industry in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic is dominated by foreign enterprise. Given the history of colonization in the Dominican Republic, the social dynamics in the tourism industry are imperialist by nature. This thesis seeks to understand how tourist maps are used to assimilate tourists into the social dynamics of Puerto Plata. To do this, it unravels existing literature on tourism in the Caribbean, the nature of the tourism industry in the Dominican Republic as well as its foreign benefactors, and foundational works on the sociological aspects of tourism.

The findings of this paper are that tourist maps seek to assimilate tourists into the existing exploitative dynamics of capitalism and imperialism. By normativizing and glamorizing these violent and destructive processes, tourists are lulled into complacency. This may have lasting effects on the popular narrative surrounding economic imperialism in the Dominican Republic because maps are a trusted source of information for tourists and in visiting the country, they become eyewitnesses to these social processes with the authority to describe what they saw to their family, friends, and co-workers.


This paper uses a mixed content discourse analysis studying eight maps and incorporating theory from tourism studies regarding tourist enclaves and neo-Marxist enclosure theory. The analysis focuses on the ways in which tourist enclosures and tourist enclaves intersect and diverge, the commodification of Dominican land and culture, and the ways in which mainstream institutional tourists interact with the tourism industry.