UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

City for sale : planning for urban tourism in Vancouver Schwartz, Shaugn Colin


Given the increase in tourism demand, this thesis examines how the City of Vancouver is currently planning for urban tourism for downtown Vancouver and identifies some alternative policy approaches adopted by other cities in the Northwest Region. A review of the urban tourism literature provides an overview of various ideas and conceptual frameworks related to urban tourism supply and demand with an emphasis on the relationship between visitor activity and urban planning. This review concludes with the identification of a set of issues that have planning implications for the built, natural, and cultural environments of the urban setting. Having determined that the City of Vancouver does not address tourism activity in the Central Area Plan, selected tourism activity and development issues specific to downtown Vancouver are highlighted to draw attention to the need for planners to plan for urban tourism. Urban tourism policy alternatives were derived from the planning documents and interviews with planners and destination managers from Seattle, Portland and San Francisco. The data was analysed and grouped according to the main urban tourism issues. An interesting progression is noted from minimal tourism land use planning in Seattle to moderate planning in Portland and finally, in San Francisco, thorough explicit and detailed land use planning which recognizes the impacts of tourism on the city. Suggestions for City of Vancouver planners and destination managers are advanced to address the potential adverse impacts of urban tourism. More study is required on how visitors behave in downtown Vancouver to better inform planning policy.

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