Place identity, guides, and sustainable tourism in Canada's Yukon Territory

  • Author / Creator
    de la Barre, Suzanne
  • The following is a qualitative exploration of place identity, wilderness and cultural tourism interpreter guides, and sustainable tourism development in Canada’s Yukon Territory. Four research sub-questions are used to glean insights and advance this study: 1) how are Yukon place identities characterized in relation to remoteness?; 2) how is Yukon tourism positioned in relation to these place identities of remoteness?; 3) how is remoteness reflected in the place identities of wilderness and cultural tourism interpreter guides?; and 4) how do the place identities of wilderness and cultural interpreter guides influence the way they design and deliver their tourism activities?

    Recognizing the importance of “sense of place” as a tourism development tool, cultural geography was used to analyse guide place identity in relation to place-making and place-marketing processes. The study involved textual analysis of resident and tourist oriented documents, participant observation of guides and their tourism activities, and an analysis of place identity narratives identified in interviews with wilderness and cultural tourism guides. Three collective place identity narratives were used as a framework to examine place relationships in a tourism context: 1) Masculinist Narratives, 2) Narratives of the New Sublime, and 3) Narratives of Loss.

    In this study, place identity is explored in terms of the way it is expressed through, and influenced by, notions of “remoteness.” Remoteness is conceptualized as a social, cultural, historical and geographical construct that holds meaningful – if differently experienced and expressed – place identity values for residents and tourists alike. Remoteness is defined by the Yukon’s vast wilderness, its distance [real and perceived] from southern Canada and “civilization,” and its unique cultural makeup and history, especially with regard to lingering notions of an untamed frontier and its First Nations residents.

    Findings discuss infrastructure as a pivotal paradox; one that hinges on the “remote-accessible” nature of the Yukon’s tourism development question. Relationships between guide place identity, tourism experience authenticity and the nature of interpretation, type of tourism operation and tourism experience are identified and considered in relation to special interest tourism. Finally, implications for tourism and destination management and the goals of sustainable tourism development are discussed.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2009
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.