This research examines attitudes toward local tourism development held by a sample of stakeholders and residents in three Arctic Canadian communities: Churchill, Northern Manitoba, Cambridge Bay and Pond Inlet, both in Nunavut. This research is premised on the idea that complex phenomena such as tourism are best understood through the lived experiences of individuals; therefore, the ambition of this research is to examine the complex notion of tourism through the lens of local people. This type of inquiry is important because tourism development needs to proceed at a pace and style that is acceptable to local people, particularly in destinations that are subject to unprecedented change, such as those communities in Arctic Canada. The two research questions ask: How do resident attitudes toward tourism vary across, and within, communities that are at different stages of tourism development in Arctic Canada? And, how can a comparative, community-based and inductive research approach contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between tourism and residents in Arctic Canada? A multi-method, multi-staged and community-based approach is developed utilizing three stages of research.
A typology of attitude types is developed (identifying nine proto-typical forms of resident attitudes along 'active participantpassive recipient', and 'favourable-unfavourable' continua) and reveals attitudes toward tourism, both within and between, the three case study communities, are not homogenous. In Churchill and Cambridge Bay, the most and least developed of the three communities, resident attitudes tended to gravitate toward the passive-favourable areas of the typology. By contrast, in Pond Inlet attitudes were more variable. Existing models were found to be unhelpful in explaining the variation between communities, and this research indicates that attitudes need to be understood in the context of four different types of reality: individual reality; tourism reality; non-tourism related internal; and external realities. The research illustrates the complexity of resident attitudes toward tourism, and how attitudes are dynamic, and conditioned through a set of constantly evolving and coalescing realities. The thesis moves the well-established field of resident attitude research, toward viewing resident attitudes as part of a system that is characterized by change, vulnerability and adaptation.