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Tourism comes with very classic problems: it can bring its own downfall, can destroy itself easily, if too successful. Too many people in a quaint or natural place make it less quaint or natural. Tourism is highly subject to trends and fashion. It relies on visitors, requiring significant space and activity to be devoted to visitors, not to residents and their tastes and values. It is based on a set of assets and factors not always controlled by a community. If the quality of the landscape in the wider area declines, tourism can suffer. If there’s not enough snow, same problem. If there are too many animals or not enough animals or the wrong animals, it can be a problem. If it’s too dry, too wet, too cold, or too warm, demand could fade. Even neighbouring development could potentially impact your demand. For instance, a nearby town that attracts foraging chefs featuring in culinary magazines could draw an new kind of tourist and tourist culture that frowns upon your formerly successful dining scene dominated by schnitzel and spatzle, connected to your previous Alpine place branding strategy. Tourism can still contribute, we argue, to stabilization of boom/bust cycles, under a few conditions: • there is either a high quality version of an important tourism product (say skiing), or internal diversification, different sorts of tourism and tourists coming to town, • tourism doesn’t prey on the assets enabling tourism, including other forms of tourism (e.g. mountain biking eroding trails and landscapes for hikers and hunters), • tourism doesn’t undermine the assets allowing for non-tourist activities in town, and • tourism income is used to reinforce assets that support development beyond tourism, and that looks beyond the short-term. Tourism needs regulation and embedding in broader strategy, in other words, to prevent lack of diversification or tourism-dominated development driving away current residents and other sorts of businesses. Under these conditions, a booming tourism industry can improve the quality of life in the community, which can open doors to new forms of diversification, and other mechanisms of stabilization. The scale of tourism is not always important, and sustainable salmon fisheries, for example, even at a very small scale, can contribute to the quality of life, the tourism package, and the place brand of a community. Sometimes, angling tourism can be the core of local economic activity, but it is more likely to be a complementary industry which nevertheless can alter the image of a place, bring in different sorts of visitors and

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Boom and Bust: a guide

Profile for University of Alberta Extension

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

Boom & Bust: A Guide, Managing Ups and Downs in Communities  

Boom and Bust: A Guide is the result of a collective effort at the University of Alberta to better understand the dramatic ups and downs whi...

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