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Local Tourism, Territorial Development, and the Western Quest for Sustainability: Contributions from 2 non-western Case Studies the Q’eros Indigenous Nation and the Japanese Temple Hospitality

Author Maria DE LA FUENTE
Director of thesis Prof. Leïla Kebir
Co-director of thesis
Summary of thesis

"While tourist destinations are engaged in a race against the clock to turn tourism into a sustainable activity,  diving into a timeless world might help see this complex issue with new eyes. This is the rationale behind this these. If the root cause of today’s main impasses (environmental degradation and extreme inequality) is attributed to our modern development paradigm, could traditional societies still hold part of the solution?


Two in-depth case studies will be conducted in two regions with strong animist imprints (Japan and Peru). Despite their geographical distance, both have preserved part of their traditional heritage as they navigate their own way to modernity. This dichotomy can be found in their tourism development as well. Indeed, mass tourism stands alongside alternative models. Albeit marginal, the latter will be at the core of this research.


Both cases will be studied through the prism of the institutional and territorial approach of resources as well as the “innovative milieux” theory. Three main axes of analysis are adopted: how is the tourist resource being identified and conceptualized; how is the production system being structured around the resource; and how is the consumption system being organized.


We put forward the hypothesis that animist societies have preserved the vision of human beings as part of a larger - and interrelated - sentient cosmology. Understanding and experiencing this relationship – mainly through rituals – is part of the destination’s attractiveness for those open to the experience. Furthermore, this higher sense of “oneness” with the surroundings triggers a higher sense of unity within the community. The behavior, attitudes, and concrete organizational structures that are derived explain, largely, the higher degree of environmental preservation, equity, and lastingness of these cultures." 

Status beginning
Administrative delay for the defence 2026