Indigenous Tourism and the Blue Economy in the Great Bear Rainforest, Canada.

Authors: Patrick Brouder*, Vancouver Island University
Topics: Tourism Geography, Coastal and Marine, Economic Geography
Keywords: Blue economy, Great Bear, Rainforest, Tourism.
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 43
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The Great Bear Rainforest on Canada’s west coast is one of the most important temperate rainforests in the world. This has led to increasing levels of ecological protection including limiting the extraction of timber from the land and a reduction in the movement of hydrocarbons through the waters to protect the pristine nature which is home to a great diversity of wildlife including the spirit bear (ursus americanus kermodei). This has also opened up new opportunities in the blue economy. The long-term development of western Canada's Indigenous communities has been a story of resilience and resourcefulness and in recent times the visitor economy has emerged as an important element in regional resilience. Indigenous between tourists and Indigenous hosts can provide a means for self-determination. There are many success stories of Indigenous communities leveraging the visitor economy to increase community resilience and this case places that success in the framework of the blue economy.

This presentation is based on an Indigenous-led collaboration between the four First Nations of the central coast of western Canada - Heiltsuk Nation, Kitasoo Tribe, Nuxalk Nation, and Wuikinuxv Tribe - as they come together to develop a regional sustainable tourism strategy. While they have collaborated on major marine planing initiatives there is yet to be a concerted regional tourism development effort between them. Tourism is seen as one part of a comprehensive regional blue economy which includes fishing, aquaculture, and renewable energy projects. The study shows that tourism development matters for ecological integrity and cultural cohesion.

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