A decade of monitoring cruise ship tourism in the Canadian Arctic: An overview of key trends

Stewart, Emma
Dawson, J.
Johnston, M. E.
Conference Contribution - unpublished
Fields of Research
ANZSRC::150601 Impacts of Tourism
This poster describes key patterns of cruise ship tourism activity across the Canadian Arctic from 2006‐2015. Cruise ships have been visiting the region since 1984, but determining the actual number of cruise ships, the destinations visited and routes taken is problematic. Arctic Canada’s vessel monitoring service of the Canadian Coast Guard is mandated to collect positioning data only for vessels above 300 gross tonnes, and Parks Canada collects a limited amount of information on northern park visitors. In order to address this data gap we have been collecting cruise data from internet sites since 2006. The process involves a systematic review annually of operator websites and builds a database of planned cruises taking particular note of the routes to be taken and the sites the cruise ships intend to visit. In this poster we review and explain patterns of activity. One pattern illustrates change in numbers of itineraries and shows growing numbers to 2010, followed by a brief decline, and now a return to growth. Another pattern reflects spatial and regional changes in itineraries that have seen vessel traffic concentrated further north (i.e. along the Northwest Passage) and east (i.e. Baffin Bay) than previously. The explanation for these patterns relates to demand, economic conditions, vessel compliance, legislative frameworks, and climate change. To our knowledge, this research provides a unique data set on cruise activity in Arctic Canada over the last decade.
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