Women and tourism in White Harbour, Newfoundland: Filling the Gap between Tradition, Innovation, and Globalization
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Rural communities, often called outports, throughout Newfoundland are currently experiencing important socio-economic changes. External forces, such as the ever-growing oil industry in Alberta and provincial planning based upon centralization, are undoubtedly reconfiguring the life and future of people living in small, isolated outports. For many of them, tourism has become a way to secure their present and future by exploiting their rich historical and natural heritage. A highly successful example of a tourism oriented endeavor in rural Newfoundland is the Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadow in the Northern Peninsula. White Harbour is a small community on the Baie Verte Peninsula of Newfoundland and is used here as an example in a study attempting to understand the reasons behind the lack of tourism-related initiatives, particularly on the part of women. White Harbour has it all: an important archeological site, a museum, rich history, traditions, and a wonderful natural setting. Women in White Harbour, most of them aged 30–60, stay home and do not seasonally migrate to Alberta as many men do. They perfectly understand the potentiality of their place but most do not attempt any tourist-related entrepreneurship. As the study will reveal, there are many, often contrasting reasons why women do not become entrepreneurs. These reasons, which may be personal, cultural, or economic are very different in character and constitute a complex web that often discourages women from starting small businesses like coffee shops, art galleries, or bed and breakfasts. This study aims to uncover some of these difficulties and offers a unique opportunity to reflect upon them. The findings are discussed in light of the latest works on rural communities, women, tourism, and globalization.