Tourism, Aboriginal Canadian Communities and Cultural Sustainabliliy in British Columbia

Authors: Tatjana Thimm*, HTWG Konstanz
Topics: Tourism Geography, Indigenous Peoples, Sustainability Science
Keywords: Aboriginal Tourism, British Columbia, Cultural Sustainability
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Regent, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper aims at the development of a framework for the assessment of cultural sustainability of Aboriginal tourism in British Columbia and is therefore conceptual in nature and inductive in its approach. Overall cultural sustainability is neither easy to define nor to operationalize and concepts vary from author to author. Aboriginal tourism is linked to it due to the predominant character of this form of tourism as being a cultural one. Tourists choose Aboriginal tourism packages because they are curious about the ancient or contemporary way of life of indigenous people. However, Aboriginal tourism as such stays a niche market and is often booked as an additional package of a city or nature trip (cf. Butler & Hinch 2007, p. 321). It is not decisive for the travel decision. Being on the tourism market as a product it has to be market ready on the one hand side and to stay authentic on the other, meaning that Aboriginal tourism faces especially challenges of tensions of commodification versus preservation of culture, staged authenticity versus authenticity and commercial success versus sustainable development and possibly negative effects e. g. acculturation, abandonment of traditional activities and the demonstration effect caused by the tourists’ behavior and consumption pattern (cf. Butler & Hinch 2007, p. 321). Cultural sustainability can be developed as a framework for handling these challenges tailored to the specific circumstances and requirements for Aboriginal people, in this case in British Columbia.

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