Key Themes

    • Cultural and creative industries, including arts and culture, wellness/well-being sectors, culinary and food-based industries
    • Nature and wilderness tourism
    • Special interest or ‘niche’ tourism and experiential tourism (experience related conceptualization/theorization, and activities design and delivery)
    • Entrepreneurs, especially ‘lifestyle entrepreneurs’
    • Tourism support organizations and strategic planning/management
    • Economic and community development through tourism, community-based tourism, community well-being
    • Economic diversification and economies of scale
    • Social and cultural capital, the social economy
    • Sustainable tourism (sustainable development)
    • Identity and tourism (globalization, localization [‘glocal’], co-creation)
    • Place-based development theories and practices
    • Place-making and place-marketing processes, theory and conceptual development
    • Identity politics (e.g., Aboriginal, gender, settler and immigrant populations)
    • Gender and postcolonial perspectives and approaches
    • Cultural (critical) turn and tourism

Past and Current Research

My doctoral research used a qualitative interpretive approach and examined how the place identities of wilderness and cultural guides influence the way they design and deliver their tourism experiences, and the implications these experiences have for sustainable tourism. My findings provided a platform for a critical investigation of identiy issues in remote regions place marketing (de la Barre, 2012a), and also informed tourism planning and policy development, for instance, by highlighting the undervalued contribution lifestyle entrepreneurs make to tourism and their communities, and the kind of support they require to excel at what they do. The latter findings were published in the Journal of Sustainable Tourism (2012b) and was recently highlighted by that journal’s editors as an example illustrating the way tourism research increasingly engages with the cultural (critical) turn (Bramwell & Lane, 2014). Along similar lines, research published during my doctoral studies that investigates identity politics in relation to Aboriginal conceptualization of land-based relationships and ecotourism definitions and practices (de la Barre, 2005) was also recognized as making a noteworthy contribution by Donohoe (2011a; 2011b).

From 2010 to 2014 (April), I participated in a social science research programme funded by the Swedish Environmental Research Council (MISTRA Arctic Futures) ( During the first two years I participated as a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the Department of Social and Economic Geography at Sweden’s Umeå University.  During the latter two years, and while newly employed at Vancouver Island University, I remained involved as a Research Associate through funding provided by the Sweden-based project. Our project focused on tourism issues and regional economic development in Sweden’s northern rural and remote areas. My personally crafted research project which falls under the ‘From Resource Hinterland to Global Pleasure Periphery?’ project led by Professor Dieter Müller, aims to examine tourism’s role in economic diversification in resource extraction peripheries. Broadly speaking, I examine the role of tourism entrepreneurs and tourism development support organizations in the specific context of tourism development in a region undergoing re(new)ed interest in mining (a ‘mining boom’).

The research I undertook in Sweden clearly demonstrates my ability to engage with instrumental and theoretical/conceptual aspects of tourism. On the one hand, I am interested in providing policy and strategic direction of an instrumental nature (de la Barre, 2013; de la Barre in progress). On the other hand, my interest in cultural geography, especially critical aspects of place-making and place-marketing, and identity politics, are equally explored; for instance, in relation to culinary tourism and identity (de la Barre & Brouder, 2013), and also through work that examined cultural geography in relation to place making/marketing, gender, and critical perspectives on demographic issues in rural and remote areas (de la Barre & Sandberg, under review). The latter work intersects with gender related research I completed for my master’s degree at the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University (Toronto). Moreover, and while remaining in the qualitative/interpretive research paradigm, I used the research opportunity in Sweden to try methods I was unfamiliar with, such as an internet-based qualitative survey, in order to challenge myself and expand my research methods toolbox.

The Sweden-based research I remain involved through my work with colleagues there has served as a jumping off point for future research goals that revisit interests I touched on during my doctoral research: cultural tourism and its intersection with the arts and culture sector, community development and visitor economies, experience-based tourism and community well-being. These interest areas were fostered both as academic focal points which informed conceptual and theoretical contributions, but formed also part of the consultancy work and tourism industry contributions I made as a doctoral candidate working from my Yukon home. That work involved consultant work on Aboriginal cultures, cultural tourism, community development, and nature and wellness tourism development (de la Barre, 2006; de la Barre & Earle, 2006; de la Barre, de la Barre, & Taggart, 2005).  De la Barre et al (2005) was recognized in a 2009 publication that focussed on wellness and tourism (Bushell & Sheldon, 2009).

In 2014 I coordinated and co-wrote two multiple-author and international scholarly submissions. The first, de la Barre et al. (under review) is a peer review submission collectively developed by steering committee members of the International Polar Tourism Research Network (IPTRN). The submission was a collaborative pan-Arctic assessment of Arctic Observation Systems and tourism. The second collaboration, de la Barre et al. (2014), was a paper that addressed stakeholder issues and sustainability, and was prepared with colleagues involved in the MISTRA Arctic Futures programme. It was presented at a MISTRA sponsored plenary panel at ICASS 2014.

Future Research

My on-going research objectives include making contributions that inform practical and instrumental outcomes that foster positive community impacts and opportunities in rural and remote regions. I have a proven record and a deeply-rooted interest and commitment to making academic contributions that advance our way of thinking and understanding issues that can be understood to be tourism related, but that engage also with diverse disciplines including, but not limited to, geography, cultural studies, and northern, circumpolar and Canadian studies. These goals have been, and will continue to be achieved in collaboration with a national and international network of scholars and practitioners for research and other purposes, including teaching and experiential education opportunities for community members, faculty and student audiences alike.


Bramwell, B. and Lane, B. (2014).  The ‘critical turn’ and its implications for sustainable tourism research, Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 22:1, 1-8, DOI: 10.1080/09669582.2013.855223

Bushell, R. and Sheldon, P. (Eds) (2009). Wellness and Tourism: Mind, Body, Spirit, Place, Innovation and Tourism, Connecting Theory & Practice Series. Cognizant Communications Corp.

de la Barre, K., de la Barre, S., and Taggart, M. (2005). A Feasibility Study for a Yukon Health and Wellness Tourism Industry. Department of Tourism and Culture, Yukon Territorial Government and North to Knowledge Learning Travel Product Club. Whitehorse, Yukon (May). Available from::

de la Barre, S. (2013). Minding the Boom: Governance, Organizations, and Tourism in Sweden’s Heart of Lapland. In Lemelin, H., Maher, P. and Liggett, D. (Eds), The 3rd International Polar Tourism Research Network (IPRTN) Conference Proceedings: From talk to action: How tourism is changing the Polar Regions (pp. 21-40). Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Canada: Centre for Northern Studies Press.

de la Barre, S. (2012a). Chapter 12: Travellin’ Around on Yukon Time. In Fulagar, S., Markwell, K. and Wilson, E. (eds). Mobilities: Experiencing Slow Travel and Tourism (pp. 157-169). Bristol: Channel View Publications.

de la Barre, S. (2012b). Wilderness and Cultural Tour Guides, Place Identity, and Sustainable Tourism in Remote Areas. Journal of Sustainable Tourism. 21(6), pp. 825-844. DOI: 10.1080/09669582.2012.737798

de la Barre, S. (2006). Learning Travel Product Development Workbook: A step-by-step guide for Yukon and northern entrepreneurs. Yukon Government and N2K. Whitehorse, Yukon.

de la Barre, S. (2005). Not Ecotourism?: Wilderness Tourism in Canada’s Yukon Territory. Journal of Ecotourism, 4(2) 92-107. DOI: 10.1080/14724040409480342

de la Barre, S. and Brouder, P. (2013). Consuming Stories: Placing Food in the Arctic Tourism Experience. Journal of Heritage Tourism. 8 (2-3), 213-223. DOI: 10.1080/1743873X.2013.767811

de la Barre, S. and Earle, T. (2006). Nature and Wellness Tourism Workshop – Report. Department of Tourism and Culture (YG) & Wilderness Tourism Association of the Yukon, Whitehorse, Yukon.

de la Barre, S., Maher, P., Dawson, J., Hillmer-Pegram, K, Huijbens, E,  Lamers, M., Liggett, D., Müller, D., Pashkevich, A., Stewart, E.  (2016). Tourism and Arctic Observation Systems: Exploring the Relationship. Polar Research, 35, 24980,

de la Barre. S., Sköld, P., Müller, D.K., Keskitalo, K.; Paglia, E. and Bergh, K. (2014). Salience, stakeholders and sustainability. Plenary panel session presented by P. Sköld at the International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences VIII (ICASS/IASSA). UNBC/Prince George, Canada (May 22-27).

Donohoe, H. M. (2011a) ‘Defining culturally sensitive ecotourism: a Delphi consensus’, Current Issues in Tourism, 14: 1, 27-45. DOI: 10.1080/13683500903440689

Donohoe, H. M. (2011b) ‘A Delphi toolkit for ecotourism research’, Journal of Ecotourism, 10: 1, 1-20. DOI: 10.1080/14724040903418897