Community-Based Tourism as an Antidote for Being Part of the Boring Bits in Between: A Case Study of Terrace Bay, Ontario, Canada
As rural economies continue to experience changes over time, tourism has increasingly become part of the economic development considerations of rural places, regardless of their geographic location and economic history. While there are challenges and opportunities for tourism within these spaces, there are unique aspects for those communities in resource-based, rural locations. Of particular note are their location far from markets with many intervening opportunities for the visiting population, and a lack of understanding of what tourism is and what it can mean for a community because of the historic reliance on a single industry. This chapter examines the case study of Terrace Bay, Ontario, Canada, a community located in the northern portion of the province, distant from markets, and having a forestry based economy that has dramatically altered within the last fifteen years. Community leaders have taken a community-based development approach to the town’s economic diversification strategy in response to the uncertainty of the resource economy. Tourism is a part of this strategy, with a focus on developing the infrastructure and foundation assets upon which local businesses can grow and expand, and which will benefit community members. The theoretical concepts of institutional thickness, governance, embeddedness and leadership are used to examine the approach taken by Terrace Bay, illustrating that a community-first focus to tourism development has the potential to address issues of location and help shift a resource-based culture within a community to include tourism development. As a result, the community has greater resiliency and an ability to adapt to changing economic circumstances.
KeywordsCommunity-based tourism Resource-based community Institutional thickness Governance Embeddedness Leadership
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