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Going Against the "floe": the Intersection of Power, Culture, and Community at Icy Strait Point, Alaska

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Port development has been dominated by complex and often unequal power relations. This study explores the tangled relationship between ports, host communities, and cruise companies by examining the contested nature of the pier expansion at Icy Strait Point, Alaska. This study collected data based on a keyword search of existing texts from multiple sources to better understand the impacts of tourism development on the local community and X'una Kaawu. Thematic analysis revealed key findings of power, access and exclusion, and the shifting Indigenous focus and commodification of X'una Kaawu culture. The blue economy is used as a framework to critically examine the pier expansion and provides a unique theoretical approach for examining tourism development at a cruise port. This study provides a practical contribution by identifying challenges for port communities when attempting to balance social and economic opportunities with development as a cruise destination and a theoretical contribution by adding to the literature on Indigenous tourism and cruise port development. Icy Strait Point is a successful Indigenous tourism destination in Alaska, but the implications of further development highlight the difficulties facing the local community and the need to address power imbalances.

Keywords: ALASKA; CRUISE; INDIGENOUS; POWER; TOURISM

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Suffolk Business School, University of Suffolk, Suffolk, UK

Publication date: March 24, 2023

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  • Tourism Review International is a peer-reviewed journal that advances excellence in all fields of tourism research, promotes high-level tourism knowledge, and nourishes cultural awareness in all sectors of the tourism industry by integrating industry and academic perspectives. Its international and interdisciplinary nature ensures that the needs of those interested in tourism are served by documenting industry practices, discussing tourism management and planning issues, providing a forum for primary research and critical examinations of previous research, and by chronicling changing tourism patterns and trends at the local, regional and global scale.
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