Articles tagged with: David Fennell

  • Brock expert says decisive action required to make post-COVID-19 tourism sustainable

    What will post-pandemic tourism look like?

    A Brock University tourism expert believes COVID-19 is an opportunity to “reset tourism along the lines of sustainability, if our country, and the world, make massive changes in order to be more integrative and resilient.”

    The federal government designated $4.5 million from the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund for Niagara Falls Tourism over the weekend, with an eye on marketing to domestic travellers as a response to a drop in international visitors.

    “With the potential to lose 50 per cent or more of tourism revenue this year because of COVID-19, marketing and promotion has to be one of the solutions to the problem, so it’s great to see Niagara Falls receive $4.5 million to get the ball rolling,” says David Fennell, a Professor in Brock’s Department of Geography and Tourism Studies. “We see how important Niagara Falls is as a major gateway community in Ontario and Canada, relative to other large urban centres such as Toronto, which received $7.9 million.”

    However, Fennell, who also serves as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Ecotourism, sees much bigger opportunities to strengthen tourism by improving the environmental sustainability around the industry, provided there is strong leadership and ample education.

    “For many, sustainability is just a term that gets in the way of economic benefit,” Fennell says. “However, increasingly — especially if we look at the actions of other countries — future success in tourism is being embedded in a sustainability agenda.”

    This is due in part to consumer demand, with travellers “now more than ever, demanding low-carbon options in accommodation and transportation, greener technologies, and other sustainability dimensions,” he says.

    Fennel suspects that even when international travel resumes on a larger scale, tourists may avoid popular destinations, partially because of the risks now associated with crowds, and partially because of what he anticipates will be a higher “social cost” associated with tourism.

    He notes that in Niagara, the mass tourism of Niagara Falls itself is contrasted by many other specialized attractions, such as wineries to art venues, which don’t always see the constant traffic of casinos and hotels and find it more difficult to rebound after a disaster. He suggests that with greater co-operation across the region, this might improve.

    “Getting sustainability right in our geopark is of considerable importance, because we feel it can be an excellent model for Ontario, Canada and the rest of the world,” Fennell says.

    He sees two possible scenarios that could result from efforts to build sustainability in tourism.

    One involves new technologies, policies, practices and knowledge around how people and organizations navigate the new realities. The second is business-as-usual, where “others are left holding the bag with all the negative socio-cultural, economic and environmental problems that go along with tourism.”

    “We often succumb to akrasia, or weakness of will, as tourists,” Fennell says. “Even though we know that Option A is the right or good course of action, we often choose Option B because it enhances our experience, even at the cost to something or someone else — like a ride on a donkey or elephant that has been severely abused.”

    For this reason, Fennell says, “educating tourists and the tourism industry on the impacts that we create from our travel is absolutely critical if we are to make the right changes.”

    STORY FROM THE BROCK NEWS

    Tags: , , , ,
    Categories: News

  • Brock research encourages Niagara to explore becoming a UNESCO Global Geopark

    With the mighty cataracts, vineyards producing critically acclaimed wines and vast networks of bicycle paths, tourists coming to Niagara have many options of what to see and experience. There’s also a world of rocks, canyons, waterfalls and other land features that even many locals don’t know about.

    Niagara’s unique, rich geology — and the economic and cultural activities connected to these features — might be better known if the region was to become a UNESCO Global Geopark, says new research from Brock University’s Niagara Community Observatory (NCO).

    “Being designated a UNESCO Global Geopark allows Niagara to brand itself internationally as a destination for geotourism,” says Carol Phillips, author of the NCO policy brief Ohnia:kara: An Aspiring Global Geopark.

    “Niagara has a fascinating Earth history that has created so many beautiful sites, culminating in Niagara Falls,” says Phillips. “And this brand allows us to showcase those sites as well as the history and culture that has developed around them.”

    The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) describes a Global Geopark as being a “single, unified geographical area where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education and sustainable development.”

    Spearheading efforts for Niagara to become a UNESCO Global Geopark is the geographic educational non-profit group called Geospatial Niagara. The NCO policy brief says the group has identified more than 78 geosites in the region that are of geological, environmental or cultural interest.

    These include the Welland Canal, the Wainfleet Bog, Beamer Falls, Balls Falls, the Mewinzha Archaeology Gallery in Fort Erie and historical sites from the War of 1812, among others.

    The NCO policy brief says, under a geopark system, Niagara Falls would still remain the major draw for visitors to the area. But the tourism industry could be expanded by creating a niche for geotourists interested in seeing Earth history and the historical and cultural sites that have evolved from these unique and significant land features.

    The brief notes that the Niagara Escarpment, on which Brock University sits, has been a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve since 1990. A geopark designation with infrastructure such as visitor centres and plaques with QR codes “can help the Biosphere Reserve tell its story by guiding people to lesser known geosites as the escarpment winds to its greatest asset, Niagara Falls,” says the brief.

    Darren Platakis, Executive Director of Geospatial Niagara, says another big advantage of Niagara being designated a UNESCO Global Geopark is that it could provide a strong educational component for Niagara students from kindergarten to Grade 12.

    “A Geopark will provide opportunities for students to not only learn and begin to understand our geology and how it is so interdependent with our environment, culture and history, but they can also gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the 12,000 years of Indigenous history in Niagara,” says Platakis.

    “This Indigenous history is an extremely important element to the overall development of the application and programming for the Geopark,” he says. “Students, local residents and tourists will see Niagara with a new set of eyes.”

    Platakis says the designation could also attract researchers and students to the area, with programs and services connecting into a wide range of studies at Brock and Niagara College.

    Geospatial Niagara submitted an expression of interest to the Canadian National Committee for Geoparks and is in the process of applying to UNESCO to become a Global Geopark.

    The NCO’s policy brief looks at the costs and benefits of geoparks in China, the United Kingdom and France and concludes that a UNESCO Global Geopark designation could benefit all 12 municipalities in Niagara.

    “This policy brief encourages all levels of government and sectors of society in Niagara to consider the benefits of a UNESCO Global Geopark and how they may each play a part to make it a reality,” says NCO Director Charles Conteh.

    “The vision behind the Global Geopark initiative in Niagara is closely aligned with the sociocultural and economic advancement of the region,” he says. “Leveraging and promoting this initiative should be a fundamentally community-driven effort if it is to be sustainable.”

    The NCO brief lays out a number of “next steps” in making the UNESCO Global Geopark a reality in Niagara, emphasizing that it will take a broad community effort across the environment, education and tourism sectors.

    Story reposted from The Brock News.

    Tags: , , , ,
    Categories: News

  • Global geopark promises ‘potential and opportunity’

    Brock University releases policy brief on initiative

    REPOSTED FROM THE ST. CATHARINES STANDARD
    February 07, 2019 | By: Allan Benner

    Geopark

    Carol Phillips from the Niagara Community Observatory at Brock University discusses the potential held by establishing a UNESCO Geopark in Niagara. – Allan Benner , The St. Catharines Standard

    Niagara’s tourism potential should not be limited to Niagara Falls.

    And an initiative launched about five years ago by Geospatial Niagara should help the region boost its potential for drawing visitors to some of the more remote attractions the peninsula has to offer.

    Niagara Community Observatory research co-ordinator Carol Phillips presented a new policy brief Thursday morning that focuses on the potential that developing a UNESCO Global Geopark could hold for Niagara — such as bringing more tourists to the area and giving them reasons to stay longer.

    Phillips said a proposed geopark, to be called Ohnia:kara, would encompass the entire Niagara Region and highlight at least 78 attractions in all 12 local municipalities — “from Beamer Falls in Grimsby to Niagara Falls, from the Wainfleet Bog and Welland Canal, all the way on down.”

    She described it as an “international geo-tourism brand” that can be used by communities to promote natural and heritage resources while focusing on sustainable economic development and fostering conservation and education.

    For a tourism-focused region such as Niagara, she said being designated a UNESCO Global Geopark “is a way to advertise to potential visitors that this is a geography that you need to see and experience, and that includes everything from its geology through to its cultural history and its economic character.”

    She said there were 12.9 million person visits to Niagara in 2017, of which 8.4 million were visitors from elsewhere in the province, and those visitors spent $2.36 billion during their stays.

    “But less than half of those visitors stayed overnight, and of those who did the bulk of them only stay one night, maybe two,” Phillips said.

    A geopark designation, she added, will help promote Niagara “as more than just the day trip.”

    Phillips stressed that there is no regulatory limitations associated with the UNESCO designation that would further limit land use planning in the region.

    The initiative was first proposed about five years ago by Geospatial Niagara founder Darren Platakis, who first learned about a geopark in southern New Brunswick called Stonehammer.

    “When I stumbled upon the Stonehammer geopark site, all I saw was potential and opportunity,” Platakis said.

    He said the initiative is “all about creating those opportunities and living up to the potential that Niagara has, globally — beyond Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake.”

    “We have such a wealth of sites to see, opportunities,” he added.

    Platakis said the initiative holds a great deal of educational potential, too.

    Although a mandate of Geospatial Niagara is promoting geo-literacy, he said many Grade 12 students can’t identify all the municipalities within Niagara Region.

    “That’s because they’re not invested in their communities. They don’t learn about their communities.”

    The global geopark initiative is “a way to attract students to Niagara to do research, to keep students here, for students that are from Niagara that go away to university it’s a stronger pull factor for them to come back to their communities if they become involved,” he said.

    Geospatial Niagara secretary Ian Lucas said funding will be needed to continue moving the project forward.

    “We have lofty goals and realistic expenses,” he said, responding to a question from an audience of about 40 people.

    “We will be coming to the point very soon where we will be actually coming out and saying, here’s our ask. This is what we would like in terms of financial support, idea support, in-kind support.”

    Lucas said the organization will continue meeting with municipal councils to discuss plans and potential.

    Phillips said much of the preliminary work has been completed by Geospatial Niagara.

    For instance, she said a formal expression of interest has been submitted to the Canadian National Committee for Geoparks, allowing Ohnia:kara to officially be identified as an aspiring geopark.

    Platakis struggled with emotion while reflecting on the progress that had been made towards making a project he started five years ago a reality.

    “If you would have said to me last year at this time we’d be here today doing this, I probably wouldn’t have believed it.”

    But thanks to the work of Geospatial Niagara members, Niagara Community Observatory and community support, Platakis said efforts to establish the geopark have reached “the end of one chapter and the beginning of another one.”

    Story reposted from The St. Catharines Standard.

    Tags: , , , ,
    Categories: News

  • Brock research explores potential new tourism niche in Niagara through UN designation

    Visitors coming to Niagara have lots to see and do thanks to the region being a top tourism destination.

    New research by Brock University’s Niagara Community Observatory (NCO) says there’s potential to enhance Niagara’s vibrant tourism industry if the region were to become a UNESCO Global Geopark.

    A Global Geopark is an area containing “sites and landscapes of international geological significance,” according to UNESCO.

    “Being designated a UNESCO Global Geopark allows Niagara to brand itself internationally as a destination for geotourism,” says Carol Phillips, author of the NCO’s policy brief Ohnia:kara, An Aspiring Global Geopark.

    “Niagara has a fascinating earth history that has created so many beautiful sites, culminating in Niagara Falls,” she says. “This brand allows us to showcase those sites as well as the history and culture that has developed around them.”

    The policy brief discusses the concept of a geopark in more detail, describes the efforts of the geographic educational non-profit Geospatial Niagara to apply to become a geopark, offers case studies from other areas of the world and outlines “next steps” in the application process.

    The NCO will launch the policy brief Ohnia:kara, An Aspiring Global Geopark Thursday, Feb. 7 at Brock University. A panel will discuss the brief and the way forward for Niagara.

    What: Launching of NCO policy brief Ohnia:kara, An Aspiring Global Geopark
    When: Thursday, Feb. 7 from 9 to 11 a.m.
    Where: Room 207, Cairns Family Health and Bioscience Research Complex, Brock University
    Who: Carol Phillips, Research Co-ordinator, Niagara Community Observatory
    Panelists: Darren Platakis, Geospatial Niagara, Ohnia:kara Steering Committee; David Fennell, Professor, Geography and Tourism, Brock University, Ohnia:kara Steering Committee; Walter Sendzik, Mayor, St. Catharines; Phil Davis, Indigenous Culture Liaison, Ohnia:kara Steering Committee.

    Story reposted from The Brock News.

    Tags: , , , , ,
    Categories: News

  • New research looks into the social world of female fly anglers

    New research by Geography and Tourism Studies professor, Dr. David Fennell, and Tourism and Environment alumna, Meaghan Birbeck (’14), was published last month in the Journal of Gender Studies. Read more below.

    Abstract
    Bourdieu’s theory of habitus was used to determine if a comprehensive identity exists amongst female fly anglers. Past research has emphasised a need to address ‘doing gender’ and ‘gender performativity’ in sport and recreation to understand ideology surrounding male superiority and the marginalisation of women. Fly fishing is a traditional male-dominated and masculine sport, where women are slowly emerging as prominent figures. Fly fishing presents a setting to then understand the performance of gender and the influence of social norms. A snowball sample of female fly anglers (n = 63) was obtained from an online survey, which was administered between December 2015 and January 2016. Descriptive statistical analysis of a structured closed-category online survey was used to determine if a distinct symmetry and set of practices exist in defining the identity of female fly anglers. Results indicate that a separate habitus is emerging for these women built around adventure, being in nature, identity, freedom, lack of guilt, commitment, empowerment, independence, anti-control and anti-domination, and the maintenance of stereotypical feminine characteristics through participation in this activity.

    Reference
    Fennell, D. A., and Birbeck, M. (2018). Broads with rods: The social world of female fly anglers. Journal of Gender Studies, DOI: 10.1080/09589236.2018.1515068

    Tags: , , ,
    Categories: News