Ecotourism in Churchill, Manitoba, principles, attitudes and opportunities
Tannis, Tamara Rita
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Over the last decade Churchill, Manitoba has experienced the economic transition imposed upon it by changing national and global markets. To address this change, ecotourism has been viewed as one key economic factor supporting the local economy. In such a situation it is imperative to ensure that the needs of the resident population are met prior to those of the tourist population. As well, ecotourism as an activity involves the viewing of the natural environment, including wildlife. In destination communities where local governments or businesses support the ecotourism industry but ignore their community, socio-economic issues increase and may remain unresolved. The practicum analyzes ecotourism literature as it relates to social, economic and environmental factors. An analysis of the various research methods used to analyze ecotourism impacts include: social impact assessments, quality of life surveys, cost-benefit analyses, and scientific approaches in the natural resource field of study. These methodologies support the various ecotourism principles used to inform planning practice. To implement and analyze the impacts of ecotourism upon Churchill, Manitoba, an attitude survey was compiled and administered by mail to residents. The results of the survey indicate that residents are satisfied with ecotourism as a positive factor affecting the local economy. Respondents show their keen insight into both the positive and negative impacts of ecotourism. Many opportunities exist for the residents of Churchill, Manitoba in the area of ecotourism. It is recommended that the community should become better informed of their surrounding natural environment, and to recognize that through strategic planning, positive opportunities exist to address current social needs and issues.