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Regenerating Canals to Create Sustainable Incomes

WCC Scotland
September 23, 2016

Regenerating Canals to Create Sustainable Incomes

Heritage is big business and according to a recent publication by Historic England (2015) heritage tourism directly accounted for £5.1 billion in the UKs Gross Domestic Product in 2011. Direct, indirect and induced impact increased this contribution to £14 billion. To this figure can be added repair and maintenance of historic buildings which directly generated a further £4.1 billion. Canals and the historic buildings that are associated with canals are popular tourist attractions and good for business with one recent report suggesting that businesses that occupy listed buildings generate £13,000 extra gross value per business per year.

WCC Scotland

September 23, 2016
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  1. WORLD CANAL CONFERENCE
    INVERNESS 19-23 SEPTEMBER
    2016

    Regenerating canals to create
    sustainable incomes

    Professor Bruce Prideaux
    Central Queensland University
    Australia
    Source: Bruce Prideaux

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  2. Scope of Presentation
    • Discuss canals as a heritage resource
    for the tourism sector
    • Briefly examine issues related to
    sustainability using the triple bottom
    line approach
    • Introduces two new concepts to
    provide ideas for future research
    "Chutes Loading the Canal Boats on the Lehigh Canal" by Hugh
    Manatee Source:. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://
    commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chutes_Loading_the_Canal_Boats_on_the_Lehigh_Canal.jpg#/
    media/File:Chutes_Loading_the_Canal_Boats_on_the_Lehigh_Canal.jpg
    The Grand Canal in
    Jining City, China
    Source: This file is licensed under the Creative
    Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
    license

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  3. Canals as a heritage tourism resource
    • Tourism is able to generate new income streams and
    has underpinned the reuse of many former and
    sometimes abandoned industrial structures
    including canals, factories, waterfront prescients,
    railway facilities, warehouses and even grain silos.
    • Interest in canals and waterways forms part of a
    larger interest in visiting heritage sites.
    • As Timothy and Boyd (2003:11) observed, ‘…
    heritage has been a key tool for bringing life to
    previously derelict industrial regions’.
    • Interest in heritage however is not a modern
    phenomenon and as Casson (1994) noted, the Seven
    Wonders of the Ancient World were the tourist hot
    spots for the Mediterranean traveller of the ancient
    world.
    http://www.imvisitinglondon.com/docklands.html
    London Docklands
    Source:

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  4. Themes in Canal Tourism
    • The potential for cultural immersion with
    opportunities for participation in local
    communities
    • In rural areas, canal tourism provides opportunities
    for connectiveness with nature though recreation
    • Canal related mobilities also have a low
    environmental impact
    • Encountering local cuisine
    • Canal-specific heritage including locks, industrial
    buildings, construction methods and structures
    such as aqueducts.
    • Stimulate local economies Source: Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=431842

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  5. Negative factors
    • Physical limitations of many canal
    systems creates a cap use
    particularly for overnight cruising
    • Has canal tourism become a new
    form of elitist tourism activity?
    • Canals are expensive to maintain -
    who should pay for upkeep- the
    community or users?
    • Ownership and implications for use
    ie local ownership or ownership by
    a remote public entity such as a
    government department
    Source: http://www.amusingplanet.com/2012/09/3-most-impressive-water-bridges-around.html

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  6. A form of slow tourism
    • There are many parallels between canal tourism and slow
    tourism.
    • Fullagar, Wilson and Markwell’s (2012) describe slowness as a
    “metaphor for stepping off the treadmill, seeking work life
    balance and refuting the dominant logic of speed”.
    • Slow tourism evokes images of a nostalgic past, offers low
    carbon options, promises local/global connectiveness,
    recognizes the need for sustainability and emphasizes the
    values of slow food.

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  7. Public and private sector recognition
    • The importance of canals as a
    legacy of industrial heritage and as
    a tourism resource has been
    recognized by both public and
    private sectors in many countries
    • Public sector examples include
    Scottish Canals and the Canal and
    River Trust in the UK
    • Private sector examples include G
    Adventures in France
    Source :https://www.gadventures.com.au/travel-styles/cruising/river/burgundy
    /?phonecode=AUSNZ_PPC_5&gclid=CNWxn-HPiM8CFYWUvAodLtgKQQ
    Source: Wikipedia commons
    Source: Wikipedia commons

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  8. The Sustainability Perspective
    • Heritage sites need to balance the
    sustainability of the resource with the
    needs of the tourism industry and the local
    community
    • In simple terms this requires ‘Meeting the
    needs of the present without
    compromising the ability of future
    generations to meet their own
    needs’ (Brundtland Report, 1987)
    • The triple bottom line approach is a
    planning and reporting mechanism that
    recognises the need to achieve
    environmental, economic and social goals
    rather than narrow financial objectives Source: Bruce Prideaux

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  9. Resource Preservation
    Can be measured by:
    • The success of strategies aimed at
    preserving canals and associated
    infrastructure from demolition;
    • The success of adaptive work that
    facilitates the resumption of canal
    related activities such as recreational
    boating
    • The preservation and reuse of shore
    based infrastructure including docks,
    wharves and buildings.
    Göta Canal Sweden
    Source: Bruce Prideaux

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  10. Economic sustainability
    • Recognizes the need to maintain the
    heritage aspects of canal sites while
    ensuring that commercial enterprises
    operate at a profit.
    • This includes commercialize aspects of
    the visitor experience by charging fees
    for visitors and commercial operators.
    • Neoliberal economic policy settings
    will force canal managers to self-fund
    administration and maintenance
    Commercial activities on the Göta Canal
    Sweden
    Source: Bruce Prideaux
    Source: Bruce Prideaux

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  11. Community Sustainability
    • Beeton (2006:16) wrote that ‘tourism
    relies on visiting place and people, it
    cannot exist outside a community’.
    • Community engagement is essential if
    sustainability is to be accepted as an
    objective as well as ongoing practice.
    • In the absence of community support
    disused canal systems become targets
    for destruction or left to deteriorate Birmingham – Canal redevelopment
    Sourcehttp://deuxmessieurs.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Birmingham-
    Canals-960.jpg

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  12. Analysing the Canal Experience
    Tourism theory includes a range of resources and models that can
    be used to assist in analysing the canal experience
    Examples include:
    • Interaction between host (community) and guests (tourists)
    • Push (the tourists motives for wanting to travel) and pull (what
    the attraction has to offer)
    • Satisfaction
    However there remains a deficit in models and frameworks that
    can be used to assess the canal experience from a tourism
    perspective.

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  13. Canalscapes
    • Urry (1990) suggested that tourism
    experiences are innately visual and multi-
    sensual as they are positioned within a
    visual environment.
    • Canals pass through a range of landscapes
    each of which have points of connection
    with canals including visual and physical
    • Visual refers to specific views associated
    with canals
    • Physical is how a person interacts with a
    canal in a physical sense such as
    recreation
    Source: Bruce Prideaux

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  14. The Canalscape
    • The term “landscape” can be applied across
    a large range of landforms including natural
    areas, modified areas and urban areas.
    • Decoupling “land” and “scape” creates
    different perspectives of landforms and land
    uses
    • “land” refers to geographic characteristics
    such as hills and valleys
    • “scape” refers to the visual and use aspects
    of the land.
    • The “scape” approach offers a new
    perspective for understanding the tourism
    potential of canals.
    Source: Bruce Prideaux
    Source: Bruce Prideaux

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  15. The Canalscape Described
    Basic components include:
    • The landforms through which the canal passes;
    • Natural and modified ecosytems that adjoins canals
    • Uses of the geographic space though which the canal
    passes
    • The former and current use of the canal system and
    its territory
    • Temporal aspects that refer to the changing use of the
    canal over time
    • The structures that support canal operations including
    wharves, locks, warehouses and other buildings.
    Source: http://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/environment/robina-lakes-10080
    Aerial view of residential canals
    in the Gold Coast Australia

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  16. Elements of the Canalscape
    The unique assemblage of the elements of the
    canalscape constitute the core appeal of canals as
    a tourism resource.
    These can be classified as:
    • Naturescape
    • Farmscape
    • Culturscape

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  17. Naturescape
    Includes flora and fauna organised into specific ecosystem types,
    landforms, waterways and the coastline
    Source: Bruce Prideaux

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  18. Farmscape
    Includes farming, pastures, orchards and plantations on-farm
    buildings and processing facilities
    Source:http://mylehigh.lehigh.edu/s/1127/interior-hybrid.aspx?sid=112
    7&gid=1&pgid=5924&cid=10368&ecid=10368&ciid=37831&crid=0

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  19. Culturescape
    Refers to modifications to the landscape that support non-
    farming activity including accommodation, roads and airports,
    tourist attractions and cultural activities
    Can be rural or urban
    Source: Bruce Prideaux Source: Bruce Prideaux

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  20. A Tourism Canal Lifecycle?
    • The lifecycle model has been widely used in tourism research
    to explain various aspects of tourism development
    • Canals usually enter into a state of decline once canal boat
    operations cease.
    • Arresting decline requires preservation, generally as a heritage
    site and potentially as a tourism resource.
    • Expected use by tourists will depend on location, uniqueness
    and cost of activities

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  21. Stages from Construction to Tourism
    Resource
    Construction
    • Canals are usually built to transport
    large volumes of cargo between
    points of production and points of
    consumption.
    • The infrastructure built to connect
    points of production to points of
    consumption comprise the core
    resource able for reuse for tourism
    • Infrastructure may include
    buildings, wharves and locks.
    Construction of Welland Canal
    Source: http://www.welland.library.on.ca/DIGITAL/Source/consturc/con19.htm

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  22. Operation
    • Canal operations grew rapidly during the industrial
    revolution,
    • In many areas the high cost of construction resulted in
    the building of canal systems and locks that supported
    relatively small barges
    • Many canals continue to have an important commercial
    function particularly in parts of Europe, North America
    and Russia.

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  23. Decline
    • The introduction of the railway and
    later articulated vehicles lead to the
    decline and in some cases abandonment
    of canal systems.
    • Once commercial operations stop,
    maintenance generally ceases resulting
    in a canal entering a state of decline.
    Disused Canal Birmingham
    Source: http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/nostalgia/pictures-olbury-canal-through-time-10829321

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  24. Transformation
    • The desire to retain canal systems for their
    cultural heritage values underpins much of
    the current interest in preserving canals
    • Interest in heritage tourism has created
    opportunities for canals to be transformed
    into tourism resources
    • The triple bottom line approach can assist
    the transformation process by requiring
    assessments of reuse options, the level of
    community support for reuse and economic
    factors (preservation, maintenance and
    viability of for-profit enterprises)
    Source: Bruce Prideaux

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  25. Conclusion
    • The canalscape and canal lifecycle provide new start points for
    investigation opportunities for canal rejuvenation through
    tourism
    • Tourism is not the sole beneficiary of canal heritage - canal
    redevelopment provides communities with a range of resources
    • The triple bottom line approach can identify opportunities for
    transforming canal systems and assessing ongoing operations
    Source: Bruce Prideaux

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