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Identifying and Planning Geotourism Experiences: A Case Study of Granville Island, Vancouver, BC

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Granville Island has been an attractive, popular tourism and community destination for many years. With its diverse and complex mix of cultural, artistic, retail and entertaining products and services the Island conveys a wonderful sense of imagination, excitement and place. It provides a kaleidoscope of galleries, art studios, restaurants, markets, heritage buildings, street performances, and other unique experiences. The attractions and products are presented to its visitors in a thematically focused and carefully managed operating environment that seems to be aligned with the traits of successful geo-tourism destinations. The goal of this research is to identify the types of experiences visitors experience at Granville Island. In addition the study assesses the extent to which these experiences align with those associated with the authentic place-based geotourism destinations. Research findings suggest the existence of particular visitor experience realms at Granville Island, and some of these correspond reasonably well with notions of geotourism. However, opportunities exist to improve current visitors’ experience opportunities. This could be achieved in ways that increase the destination’s appeal for visitors seeking unique place-based adventures, and strengthening its position as Vancouver’s preferred geotourism location
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