A synthesis of C-TAC (Cruise Tourism in Arctic Canada 2008-2013): Key findings and where to next?

Stewart, Emma
Dawson, J.
Johnston, M.
Conference Contribution - published
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"Cruise Tourism in Arctic Canada (C-TAC)" was an overarching multi-year project running from 2008-2013 aimed at providing a better understanding of the expedition cruise ship sector across Arctic Canada. A series of inter-linked and multi-faceted projects were designed in response to the observation that expedition cruise tourism was experiencing considerable change, both in scale and geographic scope. Factors such as climate change, increasing concerns about security and sovereignty across the Arctic, and shifts in the global economy have influenced visitor demand, host communities and the industry itself. The C-TAC project examined the ways in which a variety of stakeholders (community members, policy makers and operators) viewed these changes and what management strategies could be adopted to minimise concerns and maximise opportunities. The first projects sought to examine community vulnerability to such changes in three locations (Pond Inlet, Gjoa Haven and Ulukhaktok). Common concerns included adverse impacts on the Arctic environment and its residents; limited opportunities for economic development and the possibility of safety and security breaches. Key management strategies included: the call for greater communication and coordination; changes to a variety of legislation, regulations and policies; and the strengthening of economic and social sustainability. A subsequent project examined the views of industry stakeholders who identified a range of opportunities presented by the cruise sector as well as additional concerns, such as a limited local infrastructure, an overly complex permitting process and a lack of communication among key agencies. Members of the C-TAC team then used a Delphi analysis to explore the feasibility and desirability of potential strategies for managing change in the cruise sector. The Delphi involved the development of an expert panel of senior decision-makers (n=14), key operators (n=S), local residents (n=4), and Arctic policy experts {n=4). For simplicity, strategies were divided into 5 thematic categories: (1) policy and regulation, (2) infrastructure and technology, (3) services, economic development and planning, (4) communication, coordination and outreach, and (5) environmental and cultural sustainability. These ranged from fairly innocuous strategies (e.g., organise community clean-ups before cruise ships arrive) to innovative (e.g., establish a new institutional body to manage cruise tourism jointly with other Arctic nations) to controversial (e.g., change export laws for wildlife products). The list of strategies was made available to the panel through an online survey tool which sought a comprehensive evaluation based on three criteria: desirability, affordability and implementability. Through a consensus based analysis of findings a list of the most highly supported recommendations was established. The highest ranked strategies revealed a strong need to develop specific disaster management plans, to provide up to date technology and navigation systems on ships, and improve inventory and mapping of marine resources. Furthermore, mitigating potential negative impacts of cruise visits on local communities via the development of a code of conduct for cruise tourists was the highest ranked strategy identified. This presentation will provide a synthesis of the key findings of the various C-TAC projects and outline on-going work such as a research focus on smaller cruise vessels and yachts.
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