Summary: Ecotourists Embrace Interpretation based Programs The 21st Century has been coined by many as the Knowledge or the Information Age. In business, the period 1995 – 2020 has been referred to as the Experience Economy! Tourism program planners are beginning to think in terms of Soft Adventures, Educational Opportunities, Experiential Programs, Edutainment as a means to capture the minds and dollars of the Ecotourist. These are the almost recession proof travelers. They are also the most highly educated, well traveled, highest income and demanding of all demographics1. Canada, not unlike other tourism sensitive countries is facing a major challenge in delivery of its tourism programs. Classic Canada, male focused hunting and fishing, has seen a 25 – 50% decline in participation since the early 1990’s. Other large landscape countries have come to compete with Canada for the tourist dollar! (Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Brazil) Concurrently, women are making 55 – 60% of the tourism decisions from budget to accommodations and activities for their families. Downtown hotels or remote resorts, anywhere in the world now offer spas, fine dining, fine décor and equally professionally designed landscapes. The softening of experiences, from raw and physical to multi-sensory is becoming the standard expectation in a very competitive marketplace! Properties which offer in house or subcontracted guided tours are finding client satisfaction waning. Expectations of guides to have natural and cultural history knowledge, communication and program delivery skills has gone far beyond hook and bullet basics. The naming of things is not acceptable. Women are demanding themed experiences, not tours. Experiences must be inclusive of all the senses, testing one’s physical, mental and spiritual boundaries. This paper will identify real companies, national and international in scope, which are embracing Heritage Interpretation principles and skills in the delivery of ecologically sensitive programs, meeting the educational expectations of today’s sustainable, Ecotourist! ---------------------------------------------------------------Table of Contents 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) 7) 8)
Introduction and Definition of Heritage Interpretation A Brief History of Heritage Interpretation Socio-economic changes, effecting tourism 1985 – 2008 Heritage Interpretation and Private Industry: 1985 – 2008 Formulas for Success Case Studies: Private Companies using Heritage Interpretation The Future for Ecotourists, Heritage Interpretation and Private Industry Bibliography:
James McGregor, EcoPlan.net, 2001 at the Namgis Ecotourism Assessment Workshop
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Ecotourists embrace Heritage Interpretation Principles and Skills in private industry. In March of 2007, I participated in a sub-contract with one of the world leaders in the Heritage Interpretation field. After putting in 4 – 18 hour days, I took the time to ask John “how has business been over the past 5 years? I am an entrepreneur by heart and a passionate heritage interpreter. I was more than curious, for being the new kid on the block I was not quite convinced that I could earn a living wage at my passion. There is an age old axiom: Come the 5th year 80% of all start up business have closed their doors, taken down their shingle. The survivors have refined the company vision and set new objectives, sharpened their marketing efforts, convinced that enterprise will continue for the next 5 years. I was in my 5th year. John Veverka looked at me with a big smile, full of passion and joy. With a calm tenor, he, commented that he had never been busier. Further, he needs to be reminded of where in the world he will be next week. A look at his website www.heritageinterp.com will show that John’s smiles were all true! A second convincer that I was on the right track was knowing that John was in his late 70’s. The smiles and the passion John had at 76, meant that if I kept going down a similar track, I too could smile with my work until the end of my days. It was then and there that I committed myself to the time required to continue to grow my business. If you have to work – it is best that you love the work you do! Heritage Interpretation is somewhere between a passion and an addiction. What is Heritage Interpretation Heritage Interpretation, can be defined as A communication process that forges emotional and intellectual connections between the interests of the audience and the inherent meanings in the resource2 similarly: An informational and inspirational process designed to enhance understanding, appreciation and protection of our cultural and natural legacy3 Heritage Interpreters while they indeed might be conversant in 2 or more languages are NOT language translators / language interpreters.
National Association for Interpretation / Brochu – Merriman, 2000. Beck & Cable, Interpretation in the 21st Century, page 1.
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A very brief history of Heritage Interpretation in North America Enos Mills (1870 – 1922), naturalists and educator (United States), often wrote of importance of having passionate, skilled story tellers available to the public and governments, to better understand our natural and cultural heritage, to appreciate and to care for the resources in a modern context (Beck & Cable).. Freeman Tilden (1983 – 1980), working with the US National Park Service was the first to formally define Heritage Interpretation and to set out 6 principles. (Interpreting our Heritage,1957) Tilden’s ideas were supported by Grant Sharpe,1976 (Interpreting the Environment). John Veverka added 2 principles in 1980. Beck & Cable, extended Tilden and Veverka, 2002, with their 15 principles (Interpretation for the 21st Century: 15 guiding principles). Heritage Interpretation programs and delivery has been the domain of governments from the early 1950’s to the mid 1990’s. Park Rangers, Park Interpreters lead experiential walks, interactive nature discovery hours, evening presentations and performances. At historical sites, first person re-enactors portrayed Generals, Captains of Industry, slaves and pioneers. After nearly 50 years the financial analysts could not track a solid dollar based ROI (Return on Investment) generated from Heritage Interpretation programs. Their recommendations in the mid-1980’s began the whittling away of budgets allocated to “Interpretation Programs” Staff wages and benefits were replaced for example by computer generated animations, touch screens, audio tour wands. By 1995 hundreds of park managers, once supervising 20 seasonal staff found themselves back on the trails or on stage Research has identified that the Public’s knowledge of why a park exists has plummeted; the overall attendance and satisfaction with their Park experience began to nose dive in the early 1990 and continues in 2008. The fall-off is in direct correlation with the removal of personalized programs from Parks 4. Socio-economic changes effecting Tourism: 1985 – 2000 Somewhere between 1985 and 2000, market dynamics changed and opened up real time opportunities: • • •
Empty Nest Parents, on their way to becoming re-labled Baby Boomers, reminiscing about their youth, began plans to re-live some childhood memories. Other empty nesters began taking adventure travel tours which they had previously shelved when they started families, 20 years earlier. Some urban families began to develop and environmental consciousness, matched with a desire to travel, to see the last of nature, to experience the authentic.
International World Heritage – NAI Conferences session, March 2007 And Phantom Parks by Rick Searle Page 2 of 15
• • •
Now that fishing and hunting, wilderness camping had lost much of its popularity and glory. Resort and Lodge Marketing managers became charged with finding new guests to fill the rooms, to charter their boats, to keep friends employed. Ageing populations wanted softer adventures, less physical, more mental, emotional, multi-sensory Long Haul Travel – Tour Companies noticed that passengers were becoming increasingly dissatisfied with playing bingo and or having tour directors being long winded, streaming out in-consequential facts. Passengers were asking much higher level questions about where they were, about what people did for a living, for education in rural, remote villages. A disconnect between what Male – Managers were offering and what the Women as tourists were wanting for their vacation experiences became evident.
Entrepreneurs saw opportunities with Heritage Interpretation based experiential programs. They began serious negotiations at building packages and programs between the different tourism sectors: Attractions, Accommodations / Food & Beverage and Travel providers. Together, they began meeting the wants and needs of those in the Experience Economy, while building sustainable tourism services, based on triple bottom line accounting principles. Heritage Interpretation and Private Industry: 1985 - 2008 Uptake by Private Industry is relatively recent, perhaps 20 years in gestation. Today, the HI Baby has grown and become part of the discussion for operators in the Attractions Sector of the Tourism Industry. Resorts, lodges, conference and convention planners, tour and travel companies have ramped up their adoption of Heritage Interpretation into their business plans. National organizations (NAI, CTHRC-emerit, EcoTic-Australia) have built training modules for various levels of certification (1994, 1999, 2007). Increasingly, universities and colleges have made Heritage Interpretation courses available to education and outdoor recreation students. For the Ecotourist (1995) much of their awareness of the natural and cultural diversities is rooted in childhood memories, 1950’s – 1980’s. The memories were developed from experiences gained while attending Park programs. As Grand Parents and empty nesters, the memories resurfaced in the mid-1990’s. The newly labeled Ecotourist began wanting to re-live what they experienced as a child or to experience first hand what they watched on TV (Disneyworld, Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom, CBC – Nature of Things., National Geographic Specials). At the turn of the 21st Century (2000) the well traveled, very well educated, empty nest Baby Boomers, began to expect high level experiential programs from resorts, tour companies (cruise ship, motor coach, rail). By 2005, the now grand parents began to exert pressures on companies to provide suitable experiential programs for their age and backgrounds.
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Formulas for Success Heritage Interpreters, edutainers, soft adventure guides keep the following statistics very much at the top of mind in program design and delivery. Visitors remember (Lewis 1988) a. b. c. d.
10 % of what they hear 30 % of what they read 50% of what they see 90% of what they do!5
Heritage Interpreters aim for the 90% recall factor through the building of a whole repertoire of multi-sensory experiences to share with their audiences. They will have prop kits which include touch and smell samples, photographs, music and songs, mix and match facts and guide / reference books. HI’s are skilled at re-blending information and ideas around the interests of individual guests, changing themes with the seasons. Heritage Interpreter’s Success Formula: R2 x P2 = E2 / Mlt: : To Relate to Reveal through Passionate Provocations produces Exceptional Experiences leading to Memories lasting a lifetime.
Case Studies of Private Industry Adopting Heritage Interpretation into their Services The following cases are of actual companies adopting Heritage Interpretation into their client service programs. Some companies are in their first 5 year start-up period, others have their business roots going back decades. Regardless of the years in business, all are early adopters of tourism research and recommendations. Client Services and Marketing Managers have been proactive, comparing tourism research findings to their own in-house guest surveys. They have identified what the Ecotourist expects to be in resort’s or travel companies experience packages. They have identified that front line staff must have exceptional communication skills, a diverse upper level knowledge base delivering both impromptu and planed activities ½ day or many days, all organized, around cultural or natural history themes. In many cases Private Business will shy away from the use of Heritage Interpretation, preferring to refer to their productions as Edutainment, experiential tourism, educational tourism. 1. Bold Point Farmstay – Learn by doing! Quadra Island, B.C. www.farmstay-ca.com Situated on Quadra Island, Bold Point Farmstay is the last remaining piece of active farmland, first cut out of the forest in 1892 by the Bold Point Cattle Ranch. Operating since 1995, the Learn by Doing programs are very inter-active. The guests are international by birth, residence and employment. They are generally professional, academic, with young families or newly retired. Family incomes are upper middle i.e. 100,000$ +. Guests come from around the world, for an average stay of 7 days. Programs involve learning about gardening, farm animal care. In 5
Veverka, John, Interpretive Master Planning, page 10.
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season crops are harvested and processed. Staff of BP Farm lead wild crafting ventures down to the ocean and into 100 year old forests. Night walks are conducted without flashlights. One of the partners was first employed as a Heritage Interpreter in Newfoundland, 1983, He is now a Tourism Certified Professional Heritage Interpreter (CTHRC- emerit), Both partners are experienced educators. 2. VIA Rail Canada: www.viarail.com Silver & Blue Service Mission Statement: Working Together - Moving Forward VIA Rail is in significant competition with Rocky Mountaineer Rail Tours and other luxury rail tours offered around the world. Rail tours themselves are in competition with luxury Pocket Cruise ship tours, luxury canal tours and luxury motor coach tours. VIA Rails new Long Haul Program Manager, comes from a cruise ship background. She has watched on-board and a-shore programs expand when Heritage Interpretation planning, principles and skills training have been adopted by the Edutainment staff. In other cases, such as on Alaska bound cruises, contracts with Alaska Parks Service brings trained Heritage Interpreters on-board for scheduled presentations, daytime and evening. In 2007 VIA Rail experimented with Heritage Interpretation based programs on their Ocean route, Halifax to Montreal. Activity Co-ordination staff were provided with HI training by a Professional HI. Themed historical vignettes were produced in 2007and improved in 2008. In 2008, VIA took a major step to support 3 Ocean Activity Co-ordinators to work on the obtaining their Professional Heritage Interpreter designation, through CTHRC â€“ emerit. Fully aware of the competition, marine, rail and motor coach, VIA Rail Programs and Services is convinced that for a sustainable passenger service, garnering a positive, financial Return on Investment using the principles of HI to build exceptional experiential programs for their Silver & Blue passengers is critical. In September, 2008, VIA Rail, began serious discussions to undertake a national Interpretation Plan. Following will be the production of appropriate theme vignettes; to be identified in the Interpretation Plan process. They are also budgeting for the purchase of resources and reference materials for their Experiential â€“ Activity Co-ordinators. Training of all Experiential Activity Co-ordination staff is being budgeted for 2009. 3. Out for Adventure, Quadra Island, B.C. www.outforadventure.com The owners split their time between organizing kayak adventures in B.C. and canoe based explorations around Algonquin Park in Ontario. Summer guide staff, approximately 10 in number come from Australia, New Zealand and as new graduates of adventure guide programs delivered at various community colleges across Canada. Every year since their first season, they have invested a minimum of a full week of intense training. Staff participate in workshops to build their local knowledge, communication and programs delivery skills following HI standards. Trainers are contracted professional Heritage Interpreters and Marine Life professionals from the Vancouver Aquarium. Most other kayak companies operating along Coastal British Columbia pale at the commitment to staff training, compared to Out for Adventure. Page 5 of 15
4. Sonora Resort: www.sonoraresort.com Mission statement: We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” “Sonora Resort’s commitment to the environment will ensure this truth stands for generations to come.” Sonora Resort until 6 years ago was one of dozens of sport fishing resorts, strung along B.C.’s coastline. The new owner, a major large multi-layered corporation has a global vision. Sonora was rebuilt into a multi-million dollar resort with amenities and programs attractive to the luxury travel market. Exit surveys, listening to in-bound operators from the U.K, Germany, North America and Asia have identified that Sonora would be more attractive if it moved to produce a rainbow of upland and marine based experiential discovery activities. Testing what this means has involved contracting the guide services of Bold Point Centre, since 2003. Responses from clients over the past 5 years has lead the Management Team of Sonora Resort to consider a full Interpretation Plan and subsequent changes to client services. The details of the project are currently being negotiated (2008). 5. Clayoquot Wilderness Resort: www.wildresort.com CWR first ventured into EcoInterpreter training in 2003, financing 2 staff to travel and attend 2 days of workshops. In 2007 responding to staff requests and client exit surveys, CWR contracted for 3 days of enhanced EcoInterpreter Guide Training be delivered, on-site to 19 adventure staff (2008). CWR has commenced discussion with Bold Point Centre for a full interpretation plan to be conducted in 2009. CWR has begun the collection of appropriate natural and cultural history reference materials. They also have a staff scholarship program to encourage life long learning. With a staff commitment (2008) “to provide exceptional, inspirational journeys for all clients” CWR has embraced a key component of Heritage Interpretation: Passionate Provocations 6. Tsa Kwa Luten Lodge at Cape Mudge: www.capemudgeresort.com The General Manager, each year attends Canada West Marketplace, meeting in-bound tours organizers, selling them the resorts amenities. Since 2005, responding to client expectations, the manager has contracted the services of a professional heritage interpreter to research and produce their Wander the Woods and Wonder pamphlet. Tsa Kwa Luten contracts the EcoInterpreter to deliver experiential walk about’s and multi-sensory evening presentations.
7. Knight Inlet Lodge: www.grizzlytours.com The new owners of the lodge, back in 2001 recognized that financial success based on trophy salmon fishing had just about come to a close, along the shores of British Columbia. The new owners, aware of the growing EcoTourist demographic recognized that they were within minutes of a major Grizzly Bear Fall feeding on salmon estuary. To maximize opportunities required the hiring of new type of wildlife guide. The answer was to hire Parks Canada – staff who had training in Heritage Interpretation. They designed and presented appropriate experiences, sensitive to the needs of the resident bears and the full watershed ecosystem. In 2005, Conde Naste Travel Magazine identified Knight Inlet Lodge as one of their top 5 wilderness Page 6 of 15
destinations. Dean Wyatt, credits the resorts financial success “to the experiences trained Heritage Interpreters are able to present to the resorts guests.” 8. Homalco First Nation, Bears of Bute tours. www.bearsofbute.com 2005 In preparing for their first venture into ecotourism,2004, their economic development office arranged funding for a 2 day EcoInterpretation skills development workshop. Following the workshop, the potential guides kept asking for more training and the purchase of appropriate reference materials. Sadly, for a host of socio-political differences of opinion, no resources were purchased nor additional training scheduled. The Grizzly Bear Tours have achieved a level of success, with over 1,400 guests reserving space (2008). Conversations with agents have identified that without further training in Tourism Best Practices such as improvement in guest communications and increased staff knowledge plus changes to program delivery, the company will have plateaued, 2008 9. Rocky Mountaineer – Vacations: www.rockymountaineer.com 2006 - current RMV is known internationally as delivering an exceptional rail-tour experience. Each year, onboard commentary staff receive professional verbal communications skills training. RMV has an excellent reference / resources library at their main terminal in Vancouver. In addition to the reference material, RMV invested considerable dollars in building natural and cultural history information binders for on-board commentary staff.6 10. Coast Naturalist Program: B.C. Ferries and Parks Canada Starting in 2007, the partnership between British Columbia Ferries Corporation and Parks Canada includes the hiring of about 12 university students as on-board coastal naturalists. In their month long training, the junior naturalists are taught many of the program development and presentation skills used by heritage interpreters. The summer staff write their own 40 minute presentations, including the production of appropriate props. When not presenting, they roam the decks of the ferry, engaging passengers, young and old, answering a myriad of questions about the regions natural history. Unfortunately, the programs run only in the high traffic, summer months June – August.
11. Canadian Tour Guide Association – British Columbia www.ctgaofbc.ca The examples abound how long haul tour directors have experienced major upward demands in their knowledge base and vastly expanded communication skills beyond having a microphone calling out bingo numbers, while traveling between points. In 2006, Heritage Interpretation workshops became part of the associations Educational Opportunities available to members. The workshops schedule will expand in 2009 as a number of motor coach tour companies have begun to expect tour directors to change their old style of commentaries to now incorporate Heritage Interpretation principles and skills. Interpretation workshops will last from 7 – 45 hours.7 6
Bold Point Centre, was contracted to research and write the natural / cultural history information binders for their Fraser Discovery package. 7 Rod Burns, BPC sits on the Education Committee, CTGA of B.C.
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12. Northern Rockies Tourism District, 2007 www.northernrockies.org The Economic Development Office, overseeing the British Columbia section of the AlCan – Alaska Canada Highway, contracted with Meadfield Consulting and Bold Point Centre to undertake a full Tourism Strategic Plan. As much has changed in the region, since the highway was completed in 1942, among the recommendations was for Northern Rockies to undergo a full Interpretation Plan. The 300 miles / 500 km of mostly paved highway crosses amazing geology, bio-climatic regions and human plus animal migration routes. The stories are waiting to be told using booklets, wayside interpretation signs, Heritage By-ways informational maps with an interpretation centre in Fort Nelson to anchor the past, present and future. Liard Hot Springs Provincial Park is in desperate need for the return of personalized interpretation programs, axed by the British Columbia government around 2001. The Strategic Plan further recommended that Guide Outfitters, boat tour companies, resorts, by co-operating through a co-ordinated Interpretation Plan could attract people from around the world to experience one of the most incredible regions in Canada – already having earned the name Serengeti North.
Heritage Interpretation in U.S. Companies 1. John Veverka & Associates www.heritageinterp.com John Veverka is a senior master of Heritage Interpretation training and planning. He works with governments and private industry. The website will identify many private and public projects this company has undertaken in recent years. 2. Belgium Brewing Co., Fort Collins, Colorado, USA: www.newbelgium.com The local brewing company has captured the curiosity of today’s client. They can be full of questions and appreciate companies who help them experience the answers. Belgium Brewing has scheduled tours to explain the full process of beer production. Within the brewery is a small professionally developed Beer Interpretation Centre. The Pub, enables tour participants to very quickly sample the various brews and to learn of different menu items which are enhanced by different beers.8 3. Majestic America Line: www.MajesticAmericaLine.com The luxury, pocket cruise ship company employs a trained Heritage Interpreter as their Enrichment Program Manager. He hires, trains, and supervises approximately 25 seasonal Experience – Activity Co-ordinators. 4. Railway Museums: www.railmuseums.com • •
Port Alberni RR Society, British Columbia, Canada West Coast Railway Association: Railway Heritage Park, Sechelt British Columbia, Canada www.wcra.org • Norfolk Southern Museum 8
Interpreting Their Folly, Diane Gaede, Legacy Magazine, July – August 2007, Vol. 18 - # 4, page 15 – 21.
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Tweetsie Railroad, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, USA Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, Blue Ridge Georgia, USA
Railway Societies are alive with first Person Interpreters – retired staff, once operating railway rolling stock. Summer programs employ students as re-enactors, roving guides, site interpreters while producing and presenting multi-media presentations.9 Different communities have worked with songwriters, visual artists, performers, story tellers to produce music CD’s, historic murals, summer stock theatre productions.
Europe / United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, N. Ireland) 1. World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations www.wftga.org The WFTGA has members from around the world. Recent training sessions have begun to include Heritage Interpretation, with curriculum standards set to a university level. Courses are co-ordinated through the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. England 2. The Broads Authority, Norfolk, UK - 22nd October 2007 Heritage Destination Ltd. was commissioned to deliver Phase II of a major development project for The Broads National Park. The Winning proposal was to develop 15+ attractions and interpretive sites, develop master plans & support project development groups. The project will continue through to March 2008.10 Pasted from <http://www.heritagedestination.com/hdc-projects.aspx> The Broads Project is a series of Byways of roads, canals, lanes linking historical villages, industries, B&B's Pubs, restaurants. Community signage, wayside stops, tours, training programs are included in this multi-million Pound / Euro project. Heritage Destination Ltd. works in partnership with J. Veverka & Associates Scotland 3. Lagavulin Distillery, Isle of Islay, Scotland, makers of Ardbeg, Laphroig, Lagavulin Scotch Whisky's Whisky is Liquid Sunshine (G.B. Shaw). The marketing and client services managers of Lagavulin Distillery has incorporated various aspects of heritage interpretation into their company image. Barrels, massive copper kettles silently, historically welcome tourists. Past the interpretation centre, guided tours take visitors into the working bowls of the distilleries. The tasting rooms have various themes. Partnerships with other community tourism service providers i.e. pubs, B&B’s, travel companies, retail shops, makes for a multi-day Whiskey Ttrail experience.11 9
Exploring the Nation’s Railroad History: Deorah Huso, ibid, Vol. 18 #4 pages 23 – 29. Pasted from <http://www.heritagedestination.com/hdc-projects.aspx> 11 Liquid Sunshine, Mike Hansen, Legacy Magazine, July – August 2007, pages 30 – 37 10
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Sweden 4. Grythyttan Culinary Art Ltd Tomas Carlsson Executive Manager, Hellerfors, Sweden Abstract: Taste of the Loon: food as a tool in Interpreting Nature and Culture. In Grythyttan there is a House of Culinary Art, which contains the Restaurant Academy and a cook book museum. The Researchers and the Restaurant Academy have developed methods for analysis of experience, which can be used for better interpretation of a range of different foods as well as of natural or historical sites. They also have elaborated a systematic method called the Five Aspects ( the room, the meeting the product, the steering system and the atmosphere) which should serve as a basic guideline in education and interpretation. In Grythyttan we put great emphasis on nature interpretation, often with the use of food stuffs originating from local natural sites, eg. Cloudberry products from our wetlands.12 Costa Rica 5. Littlest Interpreters In a small Costa Rica town, children are the beneficiaries of a community development project. Esquinas Rainforest Lodge invests proceeds into community development funds. In La Gamba conservation is a community effort … Tourism encourages the town’s residents to preserve the land and their customs and to share their culture with visitors.13 - www.turismo-sostenible.co.cr/EN/home.shtml - Esquinas Rainforest Lodge, www.esquinaslodge.com Mexico 6. Interpretation and Ecotourism in Mexico’s Maya Forest Ecotourism can generate employment, however … it is not necessarily a economic panacea for development and may not always be the right decision. Obstacles include. . . communication barriers, . . . . training in interpretive guiding…. “it will be interpretation that will provide the orientation and experiences that are necessary to instill an appreciation for and a passion to help preserve the fragile natural and cultural resources.14 o www.uwsp.edu/cnr/research/mywman/HOME.htm
A growing number of companies the early adopters of the principles and practices of Heritage Interpretation are successfully producing multi-sensory, unique, exceptional, experiential programs. As a result, they have earned healthy profits while increasing their Preferred client and client referred list which will generate future bookings and profits.
Taste of the Loon, Tomas Carlsson, presentation delivered at the International World Heritage - NAI Conference, Vancouver B.C., March 2007. 13
Littlest Interpreters, Heidi Bailey, Legacy Magazine, September – October 2008, page 22 – 27. Interpretation and Ecotourism in Mexico’s Maya Forest, Miriam Wyman & M. Gross, Legacy Magazine, November – December 2003, Vol 14 #6.
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The Future for Ecotourists, Heritage Interpretation and Private Industry Thanks to the early efforts of a few passionate people working at government parks, exceptional experiences made possible by applied skills of Heritage Interpretation have been in peoples memories for over 60 years. In the late 1980’s – early 1990’s the Heart of Parks across North America was cut out with massive budget cutbacks in many cases to zero. Much of the blood letting fell on staff based HI Programming. Subsequent research undertaken post 1995 has uncovered that the traveling public and tourists valued the parks programs in more ways than simply financial.15 When governments curtailed public funding of heritage interpretation programs, matched to the rise of “the experience economy” (mid 1990’s) visionaries in the tourism industry identified business opportunities. The Ecotourist demographic became a viable, profit centre for companies packaging then marketing authentic natural and cultural experiences. Around the world, there now exist hundreds of companies offering wild life tours for whales, elephants, grizzly bears. Sustainable tourism cannot function cattle-car style, trucking people around on mind numbing high speed zodiacs and other boats, big buses or super sized cruise ships. Some Ecotourists are the Check-List trophy hunters There are limits to growth, carrying capacities which need to be considered within discussions of the Precautionary Principle and Sustainable Ecotourism! The Sustainable Ecotourist wants and is willing to pay for a more personalized, slower paced, multi-sensory experience. To meet the expectations of the Sustainable Ecotourist, to obtain a share of their disposable incomes, companies need to move away from mass tourism, to boutique experiences. Participating, learning about other cultures, attending their festivals or nature based packages are season and date sensitive. The successful marketing of boutique experiences requires companies to hire well rounded, very knowledgeable, preferably Heritage Interpretation trained individuals. Staff and guests, being part of the Information Age / Experience Economy require, in many cases expect, all manner of reference materials and communication technologies to be available (digital photo – email / satellite internet services). In the new century, people are hungry for inter-actions with real people, not robotic replacements. The Baby Boomers’ do want soft beds, good food, drink and camaraderie at the end of the day! They are showing by their vacation purchases of high end, experiential programs that they want to fulfill, perhaps re-live childhood dreams and renew fading memories, with very active, multi-sensory experiences.. True, environmentally sensitive companies, conducting triple bottom line accounting will reduce needless operating expenses. Investing in staff and the community, allotting a % of revenues for Environmental and Cultural stewardship projects will develop a loyal client base and ROI. Heritage Interpreter’s Success Formula: R2 x P2 = E2 / Mlt: : To Relate to Reveal through Passionate Provocations produces Exceptional Experiences leading to Memories lasting a lifetime. 15
Panel discussion, International World Heritage Conference, sponsored by NAI, Vancouver B.C, Canada, 2007
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------------------------------------ 99999999 ---------------------------------
Rod Burns, B. Ed., T-CPHI Bold Point Centre: EcoInterpretation Training and Services Quadra Island, B.C. Canada 250 285 2272 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org web site under construction: www.interp-training.com
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Bibliography for footnotes and sources for Heritage Interpretation reference materials.
Heritage Interpretation: background, principles, skills, articles Environmental Interpretation: a practical guide for people with Big Ideas and Small Budgets, Sam H. Ham, Fulcrum Publishing, 1992 ISBN: 1 55591 902 2 Heritage Interpreter: workbook, Canadian Tourism Human Resources Council, 1998, 2002 Heritage Interpreter: Occupational standards: free download, pdf. www.cthrc.ca Interpreters Guidebook: Techniques for Programs and Presentations, Interpreters Handbook Series, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin, Regnier Kathleen, Micheal Gross, Ron Zimmerman, 1994 ISBN: 1 9323 319 17 6 Interpreting the Environment, Sharpe, Grant editor, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1976 ISBN 0 471 77896 6 Interpreting our Heritage, Tilden, Freeman, 3rd edition, Chapel Hill Publishing, 1977, ISBN: 0 8078 4016 5 Interpretive Master Planning,: The essential planning guide for interpretive centers, parks, self guided trails, historic sites zoos, exhibits and Programs, Veverka, John, 2nd edition, Acorn Publishing, ISBN: 1 881150 01 1 Interpretive Planning: the 5M Model for Successful Planning Projects, Brochu, Lisa, NAI â€“ Interpress, 2003 ISBN: 1 879931 12 5 Interpretation for the 21Century: 15 Guiding principles for interpreting nature and culture, Larry Beck & Ted Cable, Sagamore Publishing, 2002, ISBN: 1 57167 522 1 Interpretation of Cultural and Natural Resources 2nd edition, Knudson, Cable & Beck, Venture Publishing, 2003, ISBN: 1 892132 39 7 National Association for Interpretation, Fort Collins, Co, USA, www.interpnet.com Trends in Tourism, Demographics Boom, Bust & Echo: how to profit from the coming demographic shift, David K. Foot & Daniel Stoffman, McFarlane, Walter & Ross Publishing, Toronto, 1996 ISBN: 0 921912 97 8
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Experiences: a tool kit for partners of the CTC, Canadian Tourism Commission, 2008 56 page pdf file through CTC: www.ctc-cct.ca ISBN 978 0662 47722 8 Experience Economy B. Joseph Pine, James H. Gilmore, ISBN: 08 75848 19 2 Phantom Parks: the struggle to save Canada's National Parks, Rick Searle, Key Porter Books, 2000, ISBN: 1 55263 160 5 Session Papers / Trade Articles for Private Industry adopting Heritage Interpretation Festival Charts Musical Course through Maritime History, Kathyn Daskal, Legacy Magazine, National Association for Interpretation, Vol 14, #6, Nov-Dec. 2003, page 14 - 16. Green Tourism and the Interpreted Experience: finding a sustainable balance, Diane Gaede, Legacy Magazine, National Association for Interpretation, Vol. 19 # 5, Sept - October, 2008, page 14 - 21. Interpretation and Ecotourism in Mexico's Maya Forest, Miriam Wyman & Michael Gross, Legacy Magazine, National Association for Interpretation, Vol 14, #6, Nov-Dec. 2003, page 34 39. Interpretation: Tourism Industry's Abused Poster Child Rod Burns, Bold Point Centre, Quadra Island, B.C. Canada, paper presented at International World Heritage Conference, Vancouver B.C., March 2007, National Association for Interpreters, www.interpnet.com or email email@example.com to receive an email copy. Littlest Interpreters: Costa Rica and their children, Heidi Bailey, CIG, Legacy Magazine, National Association for Interpretation, Vol. 19 # 5, Sept - October, 2008, page 22 - 27. Taste of the Loon: food as a tool in Interpreting Nature and Culture. Grythyttan Culinary Art Ltd. Tomas Carlsson Executive Manager, Hellerfors, Sweden paper presented at International World Heritage Conference, Vancouver B.C., March 2007, National Association for Interpreters, www.interpnet.com
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