Indigenous perspectives on ecotourism development: a British Columbia case study

Katherine L. Turner (Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada)
Fikret Berkes (Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada)
Nancy J. Turner (School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada)

Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy

ISSN: 1750-6204

Publication date: 10 August 2012

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this research is to examine Gitga'at First Nation approaches and objectives concerning the use of local biological and cultural resources through the lens of a locally‐driven proposal to establish an eco‐cultural tourism enterprise.

Design/methodology/approach

This project was developed in collaboration with the Gitga'at First Nation and employed a qualitative case study approach. Primary data gathering techniques were active participation, semi‐structured interviews, focus group discussions and work with key informants.

Findings

Participant responses highlight the interconnectivity and importance of social, ecological and cultural integrity in local economic development. Three major principles for resource use were widely expressed: control and management by Gitga'at; equitable distribution of any benefits; and the imperative of environmental and cultural sustainability.

Research limitations/implications

Gitga'at band members living within the Gitga'at traditional territory played a central part in this research. Future work could include non‐resident band members. Furthermore, if the Gitga'at decide to move forward with this proposal, further research could examine how the resource use principles discussed here may be applied.

Practical implications

This research provided a forum to explicitly identify research participants' hopes and concerns surrounding eco‐cultural tourism and the possible outcomes of this potential project.

Social implications

This research may be beneficial to other communities interested in eco‐cultural tourism development or other development activities dependent on local resources use.

Originality/value

Although essential to creating economic opportunities that reflect local goals and interests, socio‐cultural dimensions are often overlooked in local economic development. This research explicitly sought to unpack these domains.

Keywords

Citation

Turner, K., Berkes, F. and Turner, N. (2012), "Indigenous perspectives on ecotourism development: a British Columbia case study", Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Vol. 6 No. 3, pp. 213-229. https://doi.org/10.1108/17506201211258397

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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