The role of ecotourism in Aboriginal community development: the case of Lennox Island First Nation
LE3 .A278 2005
Master of Recreation Management
Aboriginal tourism is a form of community development that can benefit First Nations in various dimensions. Given that many Aboriginal communities have a distinct competitive advantage because of their location and unique culture, a growing number of visitors are interested in experiencing Aboriginal tourist destinations. There have been very few explicit links in the literature that examine how Aboriginal tourism impacts overall community development. This research study examines how a community based ecotourism project has impacted overall development of the Lennox Island First Nation. Central to this investigation is the examination of ecotourism as it relates to four key elements of community development, including economic development, empowerment, wellness, and learning. Data was gathered from fifteen in-depth interviews, participant observations and secondary data sources and analyzed thematically. The results revealed that there were a number of areas that ecotourism can impact within the community that are not necessarily related to economic development but are important in overall community development. The results further suggest that when Lennox Island Aboriginal ecotourism is developed in light of a conceptual framework that provides insight into the meaningful dimensions of Aboriginal community development, then purposefully designed ecotourism programs can have planned impacts on areas such as community wellness and learning. When Aboriginal tourism is considered from a comprehensive perspective, where impacts are understood from a social, cultural, political and environmental context, meaningful community development can begin to be realized.
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