Posted by Amy Badgley on behalf of all students
As part of their preparation for the YWTFS, students have been discussing the key characteristics of tourism in the polar regions, and how these are different or the same from tourism elsewhere (e.g., southern Canada, or tourism in the UK, for instance). The students have been engaged in the preparation discussions with their instructor through a private Facebook page. In their discussions, they identified aspects such as northern lights, unique northern cultures, the wildlife and landscape of the north, and the fragility of the environment as some of the key characteristics that attract tourists to the polar regions.
Students have also been thinking about some unique characteristics of tourism in the Yukon Territory. They have identified the land, people, place, culture and history as key visitor motivations. They identified the landscape as unique to the Yukon due to its sub-Arctic features. They also believe things like the First Nations people in the area and their culture are unique to the Yukon. As part of their preparation, students also completed Yukon College/Northern Institute for Social Justice’s online course, Yukon First Nation’s 101 (FN 101). The Yukon gold rush was also identified as a key attraction. However, students agreed that the wilderness in the Yukon is one of the biggest pulls to the area, and is the picture-perfect idea representing how “Canada” is marketed.
Students also spent some time discussing some key features of the “experience” in the tourism context, and how the experience is shaped for the visitor at a destination. Students believe that the visitor experience is incredibly important to understand, both theoretically for their studies at school, and also the applied aspects for the future of the tourism industry. One student posted in the discussion that: “Experience is what consumers are beginning to value more and more, even over financial value.” She added that: “Experience is hands-on, immersing yourself in a tourism activity or place.” The whole idea of tourism is that you are going to experience something and not just learn about it at a distance. Students believe that the experience should help visitors create a relationship and emotional connection to the place they visit.