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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A documentation and evaluation of the Pangnirtung Tourism Program Kuiper, Bob


The Pangnirtung Tourism Program was initiated by the Government of the Northwest Territories as a pilot study in northern community based tourism in Pangnirtung, Baffin Island, in 1981. This thesis is a case study documentation and evaluation of that program. Its focus is to examine the program from the perspective of its participants, which include the residents of Pangnirtung, and planners, tourism representatives, consultants and government officials that have been involved with the program. The thesis identifies what the program's objectives are, what the program's strengths and weaknesses are in achieving its objectives, and how it could have been improved to better meet local community development goals. Documentation methods included an extensive literature search, personal interviews with 101 program participants, and a one-month stay in Pangnirtung. The Pangnirtung Tourism Program was initiated with the following main objectives: a) to set up a test case and demonstration project in northern tourism that could be learned from; b) to strengthen and diversify the economy in Pangnirtung; c) to encourage development that fit in with local lifestyles and social goals; and d) to contribute to capacity building in local community development. During the program's planning phase, community consultation was held, a local Tourism Committee was formed, and a consultants' report outlining a five-year strategy was produced. During implementation, the Tourism Committee has taken the lead in managing the program. Development programs have included: trail construction, historic sites development, a visitors' centre, host programs, cultural programs, outfitter training, local purchase of the hotel, and Committee organization. Since the program started, tourism visitation has increased, the industry is more controlled by locals, and there are more tourism activities in the community. As a test case, the program pioneered a new method of tourism development in the north, and much has been learned. No formal monitoring has been done, however, and this has limited its value as a tourism research and demonstration tool. The program has also created jobs and increased incomes in the community, however, most new jobs and income have been in the public sector. Therefore, it is questionable whether the program has served to decrease or increase dependency on government. The lack of documented data makes it impossible to do a detailed economic analysis. With rapidly increasing visitation and changing public expenditures, the economic impacts of the program should be closely monitored in the future. The program has also fitted in reasonably well with local lifestyles, and its cultural projects have contributed to local social programs. Minor disruptions of lifestyles and culture were documented, however, and these may well increase with increased visitation. The program should be monitored in the future to identify and mitigate potential social problems. The program also contributed, in a limited way, to capacity building in community development. Through involvement in businesses and the Tourism Committee, local people have controlled the direction of the program and have started building skills in business and program management. A lack of business awareness and management skills is still a major problem in the community, however, and increased training and organizational development to build this capacity should be given a priority. In conclusion, the program has been successful in achieving many of its objectives, and provides many lessons for tourism development in the north. By emphasizing local control, involvement and management, tourism has been developed with the participation of local people for the benefit of local people. By pioneering and demonstrating this approach in one Inuit community, the Pangnirtung Tourism Program has contributed significantly to facilitating community based tourism development in the north.

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