Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Anne Mayhew

Committee Members

Sidney Carroll, William E. Cole, Lydia Pulsipher


Tourism is evaluated in the Greater Smoky Mountain Region from the early 19th century to the present. During the modern era of the automobile - after the creation of the national park in the 1930s - the tourist industry has demonstrated itself to be a fairly complex agent of change, not only exhibiting various stages of development but also with a diversity of types and scale of operations.

By employing a composite approach this dissertation attempts a broad evaluation of the impact of tourism. The destination life-cycle approach developed by geographers, in which tourists destinations are viewed as evolving through a series of identifiable stages in the process of development, is utilized. Statistical data from local, state, and federal sources are then used to analyze second and third order economic effects as they have changed over time with the development of tourism. Interviews and secondary local sources provide additional data for evaluation.

Although tourism is one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the world and is being embraced by many communities as a means of rapid economic development, this study concludes that it should be adopted with caution because it has significant limitations in bringing about improvement in well being for native residents. While tourism can provide a preferable alternative to no development, controls and planning can help ensure that an inequitable distribution of costs and benefits is kept to a minimum and that the potential for economic diversity is enhanced.

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Economics Commons