At the point when sightseers consider Qu bec, the St. Lawrence Waterway is one of the most compelling things that ring a bell, particularly the wide, eastern piece of the stream's estuary, with fantastic nightfalls that give guests the inclination they're on the coastline. But how did the river develop as a tourist destination? And for whom? As a professor at Universit du Qu bec Montr al, where I m the research chair on the dynamics of tourism and socio-territorial relations, S8888 Casino is Interested in the development of tourism trajectories in non-metropolitan communities. This angle led me to work more specifically in eastern Qu bec.
Diverging representations of the same spaces
However, these conceptions are at odds with other forms of representation and institutionalization of the place. The Quebec government’s Strategy for Climate Change Adaptation 2013-2020 reveals a very different view of the same place, one that is now shaped by risks and constraints and the need to adapt to climate change.
We were able to observe this in two different case studies. On the one hand, the high tourist value of the coastal space of Notre-Dame-du-Portage (on the south shore of the river) and Tadoussac (on the north shore of the river) pushes people to want to preserve the status quo in the face of risks of erosion and submersion. They want to avoid a decrease in its value in case climate risk clashes with tourists’ ideals.
From ‘white boats’ to cars: The river remains central
Touristic ideas about the St. Lawrence River date to the beginning of the cruise industry in the 19th century. A veritable empire of passenger transport was created with the formation of Canada Steamship Lines in 1913, which administered the famous “white boats” cruise circuit of steamboats. These boats brought the industrial aristocracy of the time to the eastern part of the province, creating summer hotspots in Cacouna, St-Patrice, Métis-sur-Mer, Murray-Bay (La Malbaie), and Tadoussac.
The democratization of automobile transport at the beginning of the 20th century changed the hierarchy of tourist destinations while maintaining the centrality of St. Lawrence as an attraction. Vacationing gave way to practices associated with tours, which, among other things, would transform the Gaspe Peninsula into a new destination. The visitor traveling by car creates an image of freedom.
Tourists’ perceptions of a place may appear relatively stable in space and time, with the sunsets of the lower St. Lawrence, the whales of Tadoussac, and the monoliths of Mingan remaining icons. However, as observed during the pandemic summer of 2020, these notions can also collide like tectonic plates.
Vacationers used to the resorts of New England and the Maritimes, as well as those who frequent the sun destinations in summer, have fallen back on the beaches of eastern Québec, mainly those of the Gaspé Penninsula, as an alternative. These beaches have little or no beach-type activities. The Gaspé beaches are wild and not very developed, a place where residents and visitors meet at random while walking. The cold temperature of the sea does not encourage swimming, except among the bravest.
So, tourist expectations clashed a conflict that extended to the physical spaces because the infrastructure could not meet the expectations of all travelers.
What kind of tourism?
Remembering a local area for the improvement of riverside the travel industry, which is exceptionally occasional and related to the versatility of the labor force and organizations, can prompt achievement. In any case, improvement isn't generally reasonable for the occupant populace.
This is because the travel industry makes puts that are isolated from the social, political, or social acts of their host climate to address the issues and dreams of guests who put resources into these spots.
This pattern towards separated vacationer spaces has for some time been archived, most prominently in the development of customer space with the end goal of capital amassing. The travel industry turns into a wellspring of improvement for a minority, in some cases to the detriment of the personal satisfaction of most of the occupants.
Despite its permanence as a resource and tourist attraction, the St. Lawrence River remains in a dynamic relationship that includes social and environmental tensions. These tensions go beyond tourism and call for the dynamics of the tourist industry to be placed at the heart of reflections about the development and aspirations of riverside communities.
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