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Abstract

A desired outcome of indigenous tourism is culture- or nature-based experiences that hosts and guests are willing to accept and share. However, researchers warn there is a paradox between bringing new economic opportunities into a culture area and sustaining the local culture. This hybrid study investigates three research questions: (1) what forms of tourism have evolved during seven years of existence of Nunavut Territory where tourism is a new industry, the culture traditional, and the environment pristine; (2) how has tourism impacted hamlet life on Baffin Island; and ultimately, (3) how can research findings be utilized to guide tourism providers, marketers, visitors, and host hamlets to develop a product that is economically beneficial but does not undermine the environmental and cultural fabric of the region? This undertaking uses elements of both practitioner and academic research: analysis of the Nunavut Pleasure Traveler Exit Study; pre-visit and post-visit focus groups with first-time visitors to Arctic hamlets aboard the cruise ship MV Explorer; chronicled reflections of visitors to Arctic communities with a minimum of one prior hamlet experience; interviews with Nunavut Tourism, Parks Canada, as well as hamlet and Inuit cooperative officials; interviews of cruise ship operators; a literature search; and empirical observation of cultural and tourism landscapes in Kimmirut and Kinngait. This is the first stage of an on-going applied research effort.

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TOWARD A MODEL OF BALANCED TOURISM DEVELOPMENT ON BAFFIN ISLAND

A desired outcome of indigenous tourism is culture- or nature-based experiences that hosts and guests are willing to accept and share. However, researchers warn there is a paradox between bringing new economic opportunities into a culture area and sustaining the local culture. This hybrid study investigates three research questions: (1) what forms of tourism have evolved during seven years of existence of Nunavut Territory where tourism is a new industry, the culture traditional, and the environment pristine; (2) how has tourism impacted hamlet life on Baffin Island; and ultimately, (3) how can research findings be utilized to guide tourism providers, marketers, visitors, and host hamlets to develop a product that is economically beneficial but does not undermine the environmental and cultural fabric of the region? This undertaking uses elements of both practitioner and academic research: analysis of the Nunavut Pleasure Traveler Exit Study; pre-visit and post-visit focus groups with first-time visitors to Arctic hamlets aboard the cruise ship MV Explorer; chronicled reflections of visitors to Arctic communities with a minimum of one prior hamlet experience; interviews with Nunavut Tourism, Parks Canada, as well as hamlet and Inuit cooperative officials; interviews of cruise ship operators; a literature search; and empirical observation of cultural and tourism landscapes in Kimmirut and Kinngait. This is the first stage of an on-going applied research effort.