Carrying capacity for sustainable tourism development : Tofino, British Columbia, Canada




O'Brien, Erin Lindsey

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Tourism has the potential of leaving permanent footprints on the physical, cultural and economic environments of tourism destinations. Understanding and managing these footprints is paramount to understanding the industry, and to the successful management of the associated host-guest relationships. Research questions and objectives examine the concepts of tourism carrying capacity and tourism space to determine whether tourism development in Tofino, British Columbia has exceeded its limits of acceptable use. Data were collected through surveys directed to three stakeholder groups; local residents, tourism businesses and tourists. Data were analyzed using quantitative, qualitative and spatial means. The research found that tourism carrying capacity has not been exceeded for the business and tourist participants, but is divided within the resident stakeholder group. Perceived tourism space was similar for all participant groups, but some identified areas did not match the defined boundaries of tourism use set forth by the District of Tofino.



tourism, ecotourism, British Columbia, Tofino