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Innovation Infusion Review: Amanda J. Johnson

On March 16th, 2016, the World Leisure Centre of Excellence hosted the Innovation Infusion event with the new faculty member/guest speaker Dr. Amanda J. Johnson, who presented on “Successful winter tourism destinations: An examination of The Forks National Historic Site, Winnipeg, Manitoba”.

Dr. Johnson discussed the relevance of reframing and re-evaluating what is usually perceived as ‘’bad weather’’. Amanda emphasized the idea that climate is a valuable resource when explaining her case study on Winnipeg’s biggest winter tourism attraction. She argued that despite the Forks National Historic Site being known as a successful summer destination, there was a problem in attracting winter tourists that needed to be solved.

In response to the problem, Dr. Johnson explained solutions of winter tourism promotion applied in three steps that combine creativity with flexibility. First, a restaurant on the ice was built along with other architectural constructions in accordance to the winter setting. Second, an ‘’organic approach’’ was used to implement ideas in a practical way along with flexible partners. Third, the commitment to changing the narrative of winter played a crucial role in the success of the project. Dr. Johnson talked about three important topics for the last step: sense of place, place attachment and collaboration theory.

In conclusion, Amanda’s case study regarding ‘’harnessing the negative features of winter’’ can be applied in any other situation where climate is usually considered a negative factor for tourism promotion. At the end of her presentation, Dr. Johnson invited the audience to think critically and creatively about Nanaimo’s weather conditions in order to brainstorm some potential alternatives for improving the city’s tourism.

The event was hosted by VIU's World Leisure Centre of Excellence.

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