Geotourism Initiative in a Canadian Remote Destination
CULTURAT is a successful vast mobilization and sustainable development initiative which was instrumental in making the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region a first-class geotourism destination. The region was able to offer a variety of artistic and cultural activities, its rich heritage and its strong regional identity, however it was not a well-known touristic attraction, with its abilities not being realized. Following System of Measures for Excellence in Destinations (SMED) recommendations offered by CED, CULTURAT was able to transform Abitibi-Témiscamingue region into a popular touristic destination through arts and culture. More greenery and flowers were added to the lands and urbanistic public spaces; meetings and celebrations between indigenous and non indigenous members of the community were organized, creating the dialogue between the two groups; workshops were developed and culture was promoted in educational institutions; local products were showcased in the perspective of sustainable development. These changes in the region promoted awarness about the importance of arts and culture in the touristic destinations and led to creating stronger connection to the territory, attractiveness for citizens as well as newcommers, increased cultural diversity and quality of life. The results of the conducted survey showed that only in five years CULTURAT was able to increase the visibility of the region, promote local products and crafts and create more welcoming living space.