Federal government gives $1M to tourism initiatives across Nunavut

Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal made the announcement Friday as part of Tourism Week in Canada

Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal, seen here in Iqaluit in April, has announced $1 million that will go toward four tourism projects in Nunavut. (File photo by Jeff Pelletier)

By Nunatsiaq News

Four projects in Nunavut will share close to $1 million from the federal government as part of Tourism Week in Canada, Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal announced June 3.

The money will go to Pond Inlet, Illu Tours out of Cambridge Bay, Arctic Bay Adventures, and Kivalliq Expediting and Tours Inc., according to a news release from the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.

Pond Inlet will get the biggest share, with $500,000 slated to widen the Salmon River access road, lay gravel for a path to the Salmon River, and guild a gazebo there as well.

Illu Tours is getting $86,000 to create a business plan and marketing strategy to attract tourists to the Kitikmeot region. The company is also going to use the money to upgrade its website so it can provide contactless check-ins and check-outs for guests.

Arctic Bay Adventures is getting close to $300,000 to acquire specialized expedition gear, such as mobile cabins, life rafts, propane incinerator toilets and floating docks. These items will increase the number of destinations the company can take guests to, according to the CanNor release.

Kivalliq Expediting and Tours Inc. is getting $100,000 to upgrade its operations to provide year-round small-scale marine expeditions between Kivalliq communities and charter tours.

The CanNor release says the funding will help create 25 part-time jobs, continued employment for five existing positions, and training for Inuit.

Mark Lewandoski, general manager of Arctic Bay Adventures, said in the release that federal funding has allowed his business to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Since the start of this year’s floe edge season, we have doubled our guest counts from prior years, and have been able to seasonally hire 24 people, including youth and elders,” Lewandoski said.

“We are now able to bring in the guests and supply the product that the world is demanding.”

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(4) Comments:

  1. Posted by 867 on

    The almost nonexistant Nunavut tourism industry is completely reliant on USA sport hunters and Cruise ship operators. The towns in Nunavut have very little infrastructure to accomodate tourists, so tourists go elsewhere like Alaska, Inuvik or Scandanavia to experience the Arctic. If a tourist goes to, lets say, Naujaat, looking for an exotic destination and wants to see wildlife, he will likely be disappointed and end up stuck in his little co-op hotel room waiting for his 5pm supper each day. Chances are he will be disapponted and he would have spent a significant amount of cash.

    Congrats to Lewandoski for what he does in Arctic Bay. This model should be expanded elsewhere, since not every tourist is into trophy hunting.

    • Posted by Dave on

      While you are correct, I just don’t see how you could expand tourism.

      The price just isn’t competitive in any way and as you say, once you arrive in Nunavut, your experience may be underwhelming.

      The price tag to visit Nunavut would buy a “luxury” vacation anywhere else in the world. I doubt many would really be willing to spend that money considering the alternatives available.

  2. Posted by island monkey on

    The lack of infrastructure here is the sinking point. Hotels full for construction workers. Houses full to the max, cant even rent out a room. Use the money to build houses and maybe a gym in these communities. Lifting out of poverty doesn’t start with tourists walking in the middle of the roads all summer, spending minimal money in town. Taking pictures of amautis and huskies. (except when they go to coop and buy all the groceries before moving on).
    If people want to make money off tourism there has never been anything stopping that, except of jealous people making permits difficult or impossible. There are plenty of outfitters. This Million (could be a zillion) is wasted here.
    For anyone curious how this kind of money is actually spent, look at how coop prices their construction projects and what becomes of them over time. A good example would be the mountain raised in town, partially removed bit by bit, posing a safety hazard for any child, and wasting a million$. Also, none of the construction contracts that goes to coop go back to the customer membership dividends. But they do give huge bonuses to the management.
    Don’t get me wrong, we will all be happy for the roads as they get longer, and the ships do pay docking fees, etc., but this does not mean more money is getting spent in town at all. There should be a scenario where the summer docking fees are presented equally to the population in dividends without admin fees extracted first. Something like that. Then it would at least be worth it when they take over the town and complain at us for driving by. And at least motivating to get better public garbage cans and picnic areas that we can use too.

  3. Posted by Solutions on

    Any money to encourage tourism in Nunavut should go making sure hotels provide a clean, PRIVATE room. Also, do something about non-inuit paying huge air travel prices. Those are the two main barriers to tourism in Nunavut.

    If you work on those (and they could be solved with legislation, not huge influxes of cash, as the private market will provide the service if you take away their incentive to keep the system exclusive and over-expensive to maximize profit from the government travellers). We have to get rid of excusing and enabling terrible treatment of travellers for huge prices because “it’s the north”. Sure, travel in the north will still be more expensive, but it doesn’t have to treat people badly by design.


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