Home Institution

University of Virginia

Publication Date

Spring 2008

Program Name

Chile: Economic Development and Globalization


This independent study project is a case study of San Pedro de Atacama, a small town that is developing economically from a large influx of the tourism business. The project is focused on community and human development as a result of the presence of tourism, but it is also a study of how important complete development of a town is. In a world of towns just like San Pedro trying to develop and modernize, their success and their future depends greatly on their ability to not only develop their economic sector, but to advance the unity and collective support of their community, along with improving the quality of life in the town as well. The enormous influence of the tourism industry in San Pedro is characterized mostly by national and international ecotourism companies, large hotels, and expensive restaurants that have all been able to generate their capital before their arrival in San Pedro. It is furthermore currently characterized by significant threats to the natural environment, including a serious water crisis, loss of natural resources, and the destruction of a priceless desert. From these threats and the large influence of national companies from outside this small town, San Pedro has been trapped in an interesting position of development and sub development at the same time. A loss of culture, tradition, and identity combined with the struggle of locally founded companies to compete with the larger ones puts the community in a state of developmental instability. However, the influx of technology, modern ideas, and the provision of jobs and a business environment has the town still developing in a positive way for the time being. From this study, one can understandably see that without the implementation of a large change into a plan of sustainable development, San Pedro’s growth will plummet and appear as a bell curve.


Growth and Development | Latin American Studies


Article Location