Attributes as attractions
March 26, 2014
The northern part of North America has certain attributes, most obvious, some less so. Tourism authorities key on certain of these attributes, but ignore others.
Consider these attributes:
- Sunlight. This is the first day of sunlight at the North Pole. After 6 months of darkness the north becomes gradually bright with sunlight (see cool graphic).
- Temperature. Obviously seasonality is a crucial factor in the tourist activity in the north. Few tourists venture north in the winter. A few notable exceptions - northern lights viewing, dog sled races, winter carnivals.
- Clean air. According to the World Health Organization, Whitehorse, Yukon has the cleanest air in the world. The north has some of the cleanest air in the world. Air pollution killed about 7 million people in 2012, making it the world’s single biggest environmental health risk, the World Health Organisation (WHO). Half the diesel and petrol cars in greater Paris were banned from the road recently for a day in an attempt to reduce the health-threatening cloud of polluted air which has settled on northern France. Reducing air pollution is a major concern on the government of China - three decades of growth powered by exports and fixed-asset investment have left China’s cities choking on smog.
- Clean and plentiful water. According to the World Wildlife Fund, some 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to water, and a total of 2.7 billion find water scarce for at least one month of the year. Lots of fresh water exists in the north.
- Space. This site has noted the paucity of people in the north compared to southern latitudes. Only 1 million people live north of 56 degrees latitude—560 million in the rest of the continent.
- Wildlife. There is a lot of wildlife in the north, different species. In the urbanized south little wildlife.
These are the things that are highlighted on northern tourism sites to attract tourists:
- Having fun-festivals (AK,NT,NU)
- Driving-Parks-Sightseeing (AK,GL)
- Relaxing (AK)
- Learning-History (AK,YT)
- Adventure-Nature-Parks (AK,YT,NT,NU,GL)
- First Nations/Inuit Culture (YT,NU,GL)
- Aurora borealis viewing (NT)
- Dark skies (NT)
- Lodging-Hotels (NT,NU,GL)
- Wildlife (NU,YT,AK)
- Arts and Crafts (NU)
Interestingly, the NWT markets its territory as ‘the best place in the world’ to see the aurora borealis. It also mentions is dark skies and flat landscapes as attractive features.
None of the governmental tourism sites particularly mention clean air, clean water or uncrowded places. These things are taken for granted, rather than promoted.