QIA announces fees for tourism operators accessing Inuit-owned land
Fees come into effect immediately
Commercial tourism operators now have to pay fees to access Inuit-owned land in the Qikiqtani region, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association announced during its annual general meeting in Iqaluit on Wednesday, Oct. 9.
The Qikiqtani region receives the most cruise ship visits of any region in Nunavut.
Pond Inlet received 17 cruise ships this year, while Iqaluit received four.
“Inuit in Qikiqtani communities have expressed concern regarding the increased amount of commercial tourism activities in the region, particularly cruise ships. QIA put in place these tourism operation fees to generate direct benefits for Inuit in communities impacted by tourism,” P.J. Akeeagok, QIA’s president, said in a news release.
The announcement was followed by a presentation from QIA’s department of lands and resources on the new fees.
The new fees include the following:
- Plane landing on Inuit-owned land: $150 per landing
- Helicopter landing on Inuit-owned land: $100 per landing
- Commercial guest access for camping on Inuit-owned land: $50 per day
- Commercial guest access for less than six hours on Inuit-owned land: $25 per day
Half of the fees collected will go to the hunters and trappers organization of the community adjacent to the Inuit-owned land being accessed by tourism operators, the release said. The other half will go to the QIA.
Cruise ships visiting Nunavut typically carry anywhere from 150 to 400 people, Rosanne D’Orazio, the QIA’s director of lands and resources, told the QIA’s board members during the meeting.
The $25 per day fee applies to every passenger on a cruise ship accessing Inuit-owned land—or IOL.
“Regardless of how many people get off that ship and touch IOL, they get charged by the amount of people on the ship,” D’Orazio told the board.
D’Orazio said cruise ships sailing in the Qikiqtani region will typically send the QIA the exact number of passengers on board a month or so before sailing.
“So if that ship has 350 passengers on it, we charge $25 per day per person. So some of the larger cruise ships easily come up to a $10,000 to $20,000 fee just to land on IOL,” D’Orazio said.
For communities that receive a lot of cruise ships in the summer, like Pond Inlet, their HTO could receive $50,000 to $70,000 in fee payments, she added.
The new fees will also be put up on the QIA’s land use application online registry.
That way, tour operators would be given notice of the new fees when they apply to access Inuit-owned land.
D’Orazio said the QIA set the fees based on what other organizations were charging for tourism. For example, Parks Canada charges $25 per day per person to enter a national park.
Hamlets will also often charge cruise ships and tourism operators when they enter communities, D’Orazio added.
“The cruise ships that access IOL are paying this fee only when they actually go into IOL parcel itself,” she said.
Joe Attagutaluk, the QIA’s secretary-treasurer, asked if it was possible that the fees would be increased in the future.
D’Orazio said changes would be possible, but would have to be discussed and decided on by the QIA’s board.
“It’s an exciting initiative. We’re leading again as an example of Inuit bringing back the benefits to the community,” Akeeagok told board members.
The fees take effect immediately, the QIA said.