How is tourism development in rural areas different?


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This is a presentation from the Canadian Geographers Association Special meeting on Rural Recreation and Tourism held in Ottawa in May 09. It highlights how the development of tourism in rural areas is different or unique due to the complexities of the setting.

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How is tourism development in rural areas different?

  1. 1. So how is development of tourism in a rural context different? Nicole L. Vaugeois BC Regional Innovation Chair in Tourism and Sustainable Rural Development Phone 250-753-3245 Local 2772 Vancouver Island University Canadian Association of Geographers Special Session: Rural tourism and recreation in Canada, May 28, 2009, Ottawa
  2. 2. Looking ahead ▫ Why a rural lens is needed to advance tourism development; ▫ Context of BC ▫ Methodology ▫ Insights  Realities for community leaders and operators ▫ Strategies to improve support programs ▫ Research priorities
  3. 3. Proportion of the Canadian population living in urban regions since 1901
  4. 4. What makes rural different? • Geography shapes our culture – rural culture has evolved with tensions and realities that are different from our dominant urban population.
  5. 5. Conditions impacting rural BC
  6. 6. Disconnect Urbancentrism Technology Limited contact
  7. 7. Urbancentrism • Policy and programs • Education offerings • Communication
  8. 8. Bell cell coverage northern BC
  9. 9. And southern BC
  10. 10. And access to internet
  11. 11. Limited contact • Knowledge and exposure to rural realities is limited ▫ Policy makers ▫ Urban dwellers
  12. 12. Poverty
  13. 13. Poverty in rural Canada? • Indicators from recent Federal study: “Compared to their urban residents, rural residents tend to have lower education levels, lower levels of literacy, lower incomes, fewer job opportunities, fewer higher paying job opportunities, more seasonal employment, more housing that is in need of repairs, relatively poorer health, and relatively poorer access to health care services.” Rural Poverty Discussion Paper
  14. 14. Migration
  15. 15. Shifting base of human capital • Young people • Seniors in moving away ▫ Retirement focus • Few leaders – ▫ Tax and service ▫ travel required to implications participate in • Amenity migration decision making ▫ Values and ▫ Burnout interests?
  16. 16. Methods of inquiry How did arrive at our conclusions? Over the gate… of course!
  17. 17. Grounded theory • 5 years of field research through each region of BC • Mixed methods – in depth interviews, observation, journaling, mapping, review of secondary data, focus groups, rapid rural assessments and regional comparison • Multiple lens
  18. 18. Tourism Research Innovation Project (TRIP) (3 year project) PARTNERS •Vancouver Island University •BC Parks •Thompson Rivers University •Ministry of Economic Development •College of New Caledonia •Canadian Rural Secretariat •University of Northern BC •LINK BC •College of the Rockies •Tourism BC Funded in part through the Social •Ministry of Tourism Culture and the Sciences and Humanities Research Arts Council
  19. 19. Insights on how the rural context matters when trying to advance tourism development
  20. 20. Developing tourism in rural areas IS different Some opportunities are more present and some unique barriers exist…
  21. 21. Engagement with government
  22. 22. Community capacity
  23. 23. Marketing realities
  24. 24. Business capacity
  25. 25. Product development
  26. 26. Engagement with “outsiders”
  27. 27. Local support
  28. 28. Improving support programs
  29. 29. Embed a rural lens in government • BC Rural Team • Rural Secretariat • Field time ▫ Meetings ▫ Reality checks • Use of rural residents to give input and assess policy and program drafts
  30. 30. Research priorities
  31. 31. Topics AND approaches • What models are and are not working? Why and where? Are successes in one area transferable? • Need more micro level base line data (supply and demand) • Role of regional tourism development – a model that can address “community based models” • More community-based, participative and long term research approaches where local knowledge is utilized
  32. 32. Beyond conducting research, academics can: • Challenge assumptions • Build knowledge of rural areas and develop a rural lens • Ensure our programs and content reflect rural realities • Expose our students to these realities • Research topics where rural is a key variable • Conduct collaborative research with those in rural areas • Share our knowledge with rural audiences
  33. 33. Made in BC approach BCRIC in Tourism and Sustainable Rural Development • Fill knowledge gaps that will enable rural communities to develop sustainable tourism ▫ Understand realities (trends, product development, capacities etc) ▫ Visitor data • Collect research to support informed decision making at the community and regional level • Develop resources that translate research to practice (how to manuals, workshops, etc). • Evaluate development models to improve accountability and document best practices • Liaise with policy makers to ensure knowledge is linked to policy and program development
  34. 34. Drivers will be: Threefold: 1. A research agenda developed with guidance from an advisory committee (audience is rural communities) 2. Communities and regions seeking knowledge 3. Academic questions about rural tourism
  35. 35. Thank you Nicole Vaugeois