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From Birds to Boats: The Political Ecology of Cruise Tourism in Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve in Quebec (canada)

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Driven by spectacular growth over the last decade, the international cruise industry is constantly looking for new destinations to appeal to a different breed of traveler, one that seeks comfort alongside wilderness adventure. Meanwhile, national parks, long held up as icons of wilderness adventure, are increasingly governed through the logic of austerity politics and seek new revenue. These two distinct processes have started to provide increased opportunities for collaboration, introducing complex dynamics and power struggles at destinations and beyond. However, few studies have addressed these issues so far. Drawing on the global political ecology of tourism and conservation literature, this article examines the various entanglements between Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve in Canada and the cruise industry, and the implications they have for the destination as a whole. To better understand the many challenges facing park authorities and their partners, we employed a slate of qualitative methods, including document analysis, participant observation, and 30 semistructured interviews with key stakeholders. Results show that although the expectations of regional actors have not been met and the future of cruise tourism in Mingan is uncertain, park authorities continue to invest time and money to engage with the industry and adapt their facilities to this clientele. This raises questions about the real motives of park authorities and the contribution of this form of tourism to the sustainable development of the region.
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Keywords: CANADA; CONSERVATION; CRUISE TOURISM; MINGAN ARCHIPELAGO NATIONAL PARK RESERVE; POLITICAL ECOLOGY; PROTECTED AREA GOVERNANCE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 31, 2018

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  • Tourism in Marine Environments is an interdisciplinary journal dealing with a variety of management issues in marine settings. It is a scientific journal that draws upon the expertise of academics and practitioners from various disciplines related to the marine environment, including tourism, marine science, geography, social sciences, psychology, environmental studies, economics, marketing, and many more.
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