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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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 Regenerating canals to

    create sustainable incomes
 Professor Bruce Prideaux Central Queensland University Australia Source: Bruce Prideaux
  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
  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:
  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
  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
  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.
  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
  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
  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
  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
  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
  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.
  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
  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
  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
  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
  17. Naturescape Includes flora and fauna organised into specific ecosystem types,

    landforms, waterways and the coastline Source: Bruce Prideaux
  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
  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
  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
  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
  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.
  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
  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
  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