Master of Arts in Sustainable Leisure Management: Theses

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    The nature of creativity: Cultural Ecosystem Services (CES), placemaking, and community resilience in Prince Rupert, British Columbia
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2023) Henderson, Rachel
    Creative activity, such as the visual arts, performance arts, and literary arts, offers significant advantages to the social, cultural, environmental, and economic resiliency of local communities. While creative places were once considered exclusive to high-population, urban centres, there is increasing attention extended to the existence and undervaluation of creativity within smaller and remote places. These peripheral regions are characteristically abundant in natural amenities, and often exhibit a relationship between nature and local arts and culture. As a result, creative activity offers unique insights into how cultural ecosystem services (CES) exist and function in peripheral communities. The following investigation focuses on Prince Rupert, Canada; a small coastal city situated in northern British Columbia’s coastal temperate rainforest. The examination employs a qualitative case study approach to investigate how Prince Rupert’s creative and cultural sector and CES influence local placemaking and community resilience. Data for this study used a thematic analysis collected from two methods: 1) fourteen semi-structured interviews with Prince Rupert’s artists and makers, as well as creative and cultural sector leaders, and 2) eight textual documents that portray or describe activities or products related to Prince Rupert’s creative and cultural sector (e.g., visitor guide, provincial arts and culture report, planning documents). Together, findings support an integration of creative and cultural perspectives into community resilience dynamics, with place-embedded significance to human-nature relationships in Prince Rupert. Given the complex nature of the challenges faced by peripheral communities, and the rich conceptual tool that is offered by CES, this research presents a unique perspective on the role of the creative and cultural sector in a small, remote Canadian city.
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    Travel, leisure, and aging: leisure for older adults visiting immigrant children
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2023) Najafi, Nazila
    Despite its prevalence and potential impact, visiting friends and relatives (VFR) travel is remarkably understudied. Aging visiting parents of Persian immigrants are especially marginalized in scholarship and practice. This lack of attention is noteworthy, given the increase in immigrants to Canada and the rapidly aging population. This study aimed to understand the lived experience of 'visiting' immigrant relatives and the role of leisure (including leisure boredom and leisure constraints) during their visit. Specifically, this study explored whether leisure could help aging Persian parents visiting children in Canada with the cultural, familial, and economic challenges associated with their visit, including potential culture shock. Guided by a social constructivist paradigm and phenomenological approach, semi-structured, open-ended interviews were conducted with a purposive, non-probability sample of 14 visiting parents of Persian immigrants from Tri-Cities, BC, Canada. Interviews were analyzed using Braun and Clarke's Reflexive Thematic Analysis (RTA). Overall, Persian parents' lived experiences were characterized by three major themes:(a) visiting parents' experiences encountering Canadian culture, (b) visiting parents' leisure constraints, and (c) visiting parents' leisure activities in Canada. Eight sub-themes were developed to elaborate upon these overarching themes. The first sub-themes distinguish between parents who experienced culture shock and those for whom no culture shock was experienced. Language barriers were considered a common source of shock in this scenario, despite some unexpected findings (e.g., being able to connect with others despite the language barrier). The second set of sub-themes identified three recurring leisure constraints: (a) the exchange rate, (b) the host's busy lifestyle, and (c) leisure boredom. These constraints impacted and shaped the nature of participants' desired leisure activities. The third set of subthemes captured adults' leisure experience while visiting relatives, including (a) desired leisure activities, (b) leisure opportunities, and (c) autonomy, competence, and relatedness experienced within leisure activities. These themes, supported by data, are discussed, and the existing literature is extended. In addition, practical implications for hosts/host communities are also discussed.
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    Nanaimo residents’ sentiments study toward tourism: an exploration of perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2023) Chen (Neo), Xunnan
    Tourism is an important contributor to Canadian economic growth, as evidenced by the record-breaking 22.1 million visitors that Canada welcomed in 2019, leading to employment opportunities and service growth in all regions of the country (Destination Canada, 2019). However, the COVID-19 pandemic's global travel shutdown had severe consequences for the tourism industry and altered host communities' perceptions of visitors (Destination British Columbia, 2020). As a result, residents' views on tourism may have shifted since the pandemic, making it essential to study their attitudes and beliefs toward tourism in their community post-pandemic. Knowing residents’ sentiments towards tourism can offer destination management organizations (DMOs) and tourism stakeholders valuable insights, which they can use to enhance local tourism development by improving tourism planning and policies. Although previous studies have explored residents' sentiments toward tourism at the national or provincial level, less attention has been paid to the community level (Destination British Columbia, n.d.; Destination Canada, n.d.). This study investigated residents’ sentiments toward tourism in the Vancouver Island community of Nanaimo. Grounded in social exchange theory, this study used an online survey to measure participants' agreement with positive and negative statements about tourism in Nanaimo. Hypotheses were established according to involvement status in the tourism or hospitality industry, length of residency, areas of residency, age, and Net Promoters Score categories. Additionally, this research also explored how residents in different Net Promoter Score categories spoke about Nanaimo as a destination. To test the hypotheses and identify any significant differences between the groups, the data analysis employed SPSS software and a range of statistical tests, including T-tests, Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), group comparison, Chi-square test, and Cronbach's alpha reliability test. Results revealed that Nanaimo residents generally had a positive attitude toward tourism. Participants who were employed in the tourism and hospitality industry were more positive than those who are not employed in the industry. Passives and Detractors had similar attitudes toward tourism and were less positive than Promoters. Tourism Nanaimo serves as the Destination Management Organization committed to enhancing Nanaimo's appeal as a tourism destination (Tourism Nanaimo, 2022). The study’s findings offered valuable insights and suggestions for Tourism Nanaimo and other tourism stakeholders, aimed at promoting the sustainable growth of tourism in Nanaimo.
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    Surfing for recovery: my self-managed blue space intervention for substance use disorder maintenance
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2023) Broderick, Lliam Anthony
    Pre-designed activities in a natural water setting, known as blue space interventions (BSIs), are recognized for their health-promoting qualities. BSIs, including those involving surfing, have been shown to provide opportunities for improving the self-efficacy of diverse groups, including people with substance use disorder (SUD). However, little is known about the lived experience of those in recovery from SUD or how BSIs contribute to self-efficacy and sustained recovery for this population. This research aimed to gain insight into the relationship between surfing, blue space, self-efficacy, and recovery-oriented health outcomes. Using a multi-method case study design with an autoethnographic lens, I utilized my own experience as an adult male experiencing SUD to explore whether participating in a self-managed BSI could influence my surfing and recovery efficacy. I developed a BSI, implemented it on myself, and reflected on my experience before, during, and after using various data collection tools, including: (a) a self-interview experience; (b) semi-structured reflective journal entries; (c) researcher-generated photographs; and (d) online semi-structured interviews with family members. This process required a great deal of learning, skill development, and discipline. Overcoming challenges associated with the BSI helped me uncover recovery-related skills (e.g., planning, preparation, social networking, introspection, self-regulation), pushed my reflective practices into a more well-developed and effective space, and encouraged the development of personal autonomy, which allowed me the opportunity to find value in my interpersonal relationships and connect purposefully with my spirituality. I believe that the opportunities and challenges associated with the intervention design and evaluation created an environment for my surfing and recovery efficacy to develop.
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    Barriers to information and financing in small and medium-sized enterprises in central Vancouver Island
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2016) Kaur, Harpreet
    This study sought to identify key support needs of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and the services required by SMEs to expand and improve. The purpose of the study was to identify barriers that prevent SMEs from accessing business information and financing from Community Futures Central Vancouver Island (CFCI). There were four research questions: 1. What business services do owners require for their businesses? 2. Where are business owners currently going for business service(s)? 3. What factors affect business owners when they seek financing or business-related service(s)? 4. What is the awareness and perception of SMEs of the services offered by CFCI? Convenience sampling was used in this study. A survey was designed based on previous research study conducted by Community Futures North Cariboo with SMEs, and (a) was distributed to 1377 SME owners listed with CFCI, (b) published on CFCI social media websites, (c) Gabriola, Nanaimo, Ladysmith, Parksville and Qualicum Beach Chambers Newsline, and (d) sent to businesses associated with CFCI. In total N=174 responses were received, with 77% being current and 10% past business operators, and 11% who want to operate a business in future. A mixed method explanatory research approach was adopted. Qualitative methodologies were used to identify prominent themes and quantitative methodologies were used to analyse responses numerically. Lack of familiarity with programs was the main barrier to SMEs utilizing CFCI counselling and coaching services, and financing (such as; loans, low interest rate) was the major concern of SMEs. Other important barriers included, startup/ working/expansion capital, qualified & experienced staff, new business/clients, finding additional time and marketing help. The study also includes recommendations to the CFCI for improving SMEs access to business information and financing for future research.