Extreme Tourism – Lessons from the World’s Cold Water Islands Godfrey Baldacchino Canada Research Chair (Island Studies) University of Prince Edward Island, Canada
Assumptions about Island Tourist Paradises: Warm Water Tropical Climate Exotic/Erotic Sites
Is Cold Water & Challenging Weather an Obstacle to Tourism? Do Islands add a Particular Twist to Tourism Policy & Practice?
Key Questions (1) • Is there a Specific Island ‘Lure’? What exactly attracts tourists to (small) islands? (slower tempo; physical remove; taking it all in) • Is bad weather less of a bother in cold areas, since it is expected and indeed critical to special interest travellers?
Key Questions (2) • Is there a cold water tourist type? • Is extreme location and insularity a blessing: – regulating flow; protecting environment; preserving difference; preventing lapse into mass tourism? • Expensive, hazardous, irregular, unreliable access: all part of the cold water tourist experience?
Key Questions (3) • Rapid, deep and intense impact of tourism on small islands – high level of openness – is tourism hazardous? • Are cold water islands the ultimate raw outposts of civilisation – destined to enjoy the latest and final boom? Or should islands remain foreboding and forbidden?
Key Questions (4) • Inaccessibility is part of Competitive Asset -but easier to maintain where there is no population. Are land use and access conflicts likely? • Political peripherality may spawn bold (alien) tourist elite – Dangerous?
Lessons • A new category of destinations • A re-interpretation of the island ‘draw’ • Bad weather as ally – no seasonality paradigm • Difficult access as ally – no mass potential • A specific combination of services – based on small numbers.