QIA announces fees for tourism operators accessing Inuit-owned land

Fees come into effect immediately

Tourism operators visiting the Qikiqtani region of Nunavut will now be charged tourism fees to access Inuit-owned land, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association announced during its annual general meeting held in Iqaluit on Oct. 8-10. (File photo)

By Emma Tranter

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.

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(23) Comments:

  1. Posted by Israel MacArthur on

    Well, I can think of no quicker way to destroy any developing tourism in industry and get yourself set up for a lovely court fight.

    Guess who will be the first to moan about the lack of economic opportunity in the region though?

    Time to get the popcorn

    • Posted by Anonymous on

      No quicker way to destroy tourism? The candian parks are flourishing with tourists who are happy to pay. Where does that idea come from ?why dont you think the people ok the cruse ship should pay? Sounds fair to me.

      • Posted by Israel MacArthur on

        10,000 $20,000 per ship is excessive, particularly considering the complete lack of infrastructure available and the under development of the sector Nunavut. You can’t compare the facilities at Parks Canada with what is available in Nunavut.

        One day maybe this could be justified, for now it is excessive and burden on such an under developed industry.

        Hell, cruise ships don’t even pay that to access Halifax, with all the amenities on offer there.

  2. Posted by Harol weib on

    Tourism is a business base on people who choose a destination for which they have a desire to visit. Owners of tourism business will provide destination’s that are both popular and affordable. Cruise ships coming to Nunavut is relatively new. Would it not be wiser to allow these operators grow the business some what be for imposing fees.
    Alaskan cruising ihas been popular for many years and has many of the same vistas and attractions as Nunavut. Perhaps there could be some knowledge gained about how to go about encouraging more people to visit Nunavut. Asking about how they charge fees if any.

    • Posted by Israel MacArthur on

      Exactly. There are many alternatives to Nunavut for cruises, grow the industry first, don’t smother it in the cradle.

      • Posted by Harry on

        Cruise ships have been coming to Nunavut for more then a decade now, the problem we have here in Nunavut compared to Alaska or Greenland is that our marine charts are not very good, information that we have and its very little is usually from the 60s and 70s.
        With better marine charts more cruise ships will want to come to Nunavut.
        Other problem is that a lot of these communities do not want the cruise ships to go to their community our surrounding area do to marine wildlife disturbance. Its a fine balance. Plus communities make very little if anything from cruise ships. Fees are needed.

        • Posted by Israel MacArthur on

          I don’t disagree, fees are needed. These fees are excessive, a decade-old industry is in its infancy, and there are lots of replacements for Nunavut for those of a mind to cruise in the north.

          Fees need to be proportionate to the services received, that is not the case here.

  3. Posted by Inuk Person on

    I’m glad the Inuit Owned Lands (IOL) are being used for financial gains other than mining. According to Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Article 17.1, the primary purpose of IOL shall be to provide Inuit with rights in land that promote economic self-sufficiency of Inuit through time.

    More communities, RIOs should be taking advantage of the IOL, the whole 18% of the Nunavut Settlement Areas, so more money could flow to the communities, maybe even sustain some of these communities? It would be nice since it’s very expensive in the North.

  4. Posted by Tom on

    Cruise ships visits are meaningless unless you charge them fees, most people working in the tourism industry knows cruise ships are in no way beneficial for places they visit, there is not very much money to be made with so many people coming off the ship walking around looking around. They do not spend much money.

    So charging a fee is the best way to get something out of all these people that visit up here. The GN should be matching this so when the cruise ships visit other places in Nunavut the cruise companies leave a little for Nunavut’s economy.

    Good job QIA!

  5. Posted by Bye Bye on

    I hope that the cruise ships will ignore the western passage and sail in different waters. Since no money comes into the communities, it will not a big loss.
    Seriously….overpriced T-Shirts, or carvings would never sell to tourists, especially when they are greeted with comments like,stay off my land.

    Greediness at its best, as usual. If Nunavut Tourism and the communities would setup proper places, with proper events and souvenirs, money always would have stayed behind. Now I hope you get nothing, just as you deserve. QIA serving its people….lol

    • Posted by Israel MacArthur on

      Ah, the unwelcoming attitude of many in these small communities is a different issue entirely, and something that will take many years to change.

  6. Posted by Top secret on

    I believe the money should be used towards the community for hotels and services etc. Therefore would help accommodate with the tourism industry in the region. Accommodation is a big deal for tourists and if there is no accommodation available then you loose tourists. Just my opinion.

    • Posted by Hotels on

      The sad truth is that several, if not most of Nunavut hotels or B&B in the communities are below standards. Accommodation cost per bed rather then per room, deep fried and overpriced food, failing infrastructure need to be addressed. The Co-op has started to renovate some of their Inns, but the remaining points remain.
      I have stayed in places with broken windows, dirty linens, not Internet or cable, etc. and tourists would be appalled experiencing this.
      Nunavut is beautiful, the landmarks of the Qikiqtani, the wildlife of the Kivalliq or the birds and flowers in the Kitikmeot. Many tourist come to Nunavut to experience this beauty, but Nunavut tourism has to start becoming professional and supporting the tourists. There is a potential, to create a satisfying market, but the greed has to stop. Nunavut is on the map and people from all over the world are visiting it. However, eventually the well will go dry, the cruise ships will skip the Northwest Passage, and the hikers, canoeist, bird and flower watchers, sport hunters will select other destinations.
      Nunavut Tourism, organize proper promotions for Nunavut and if a cruise ship arrives, passengers should have the option to purchase souvenirs, have guided tours, and watch traditional performances. However, there you not be a demanded expectations that tourists have to purchase items. A smile from both sides will promote Nunavut faster and further, all over the world

  7. Posted by The Old Trapper on

    In the past I have been against fees such as a specific tax on hotel rooms which is then given to a tourism organization to promote the region. My opposition was mainly due to the fact that it actually deterred tourism by increasing the cost of a necessary commodity, it applied to all users (govt, business, tourists), and the spending of the money did not have adequate oversight or accountability.
    In the case of cruise ship fees, I see a different situation. Everyone on the ship is there because of their interests in seeing the natural environment, and/or cultural interests. I would hazard to say that the natural environment is the prime draw.
    As such it could be expected to pay a small fee to the ones in charge of that environment. I would caution that fees should not be too high so as to dissuade ships from visiting, and no doubt some will object as it does make it more difficult to sell their product. It should be noted though that these are generally the more affluent tourists and they can afford to pay.

    • Posted by Loigic Prevails. – Inuit Rights on

      If the Inuit Land Claims settlement Land Regime permits it legally, than benefit from the Inuit Rights! That’s it that’s all! And if the Nunavut I out Land Regime does not permit it, then someone failed. Nunavut, Nunatsiavut, Nunavik & Inuvialuit need to make money and benefit from economic activity. Stop making Inuit feel guilty about benefiting a little bit ! Anyone who does not agree is a proponent of systemic discrimination! My 2 cents.

      • Posted by Israel MacArthur on

        What is legally permitted does not necessarily equal economic sense, or business sense. It is not clear that this decision makes any sort of economic sense at this time.

        Call it systemic discrimination if you want (it isn’t), it doesn’t make it so.

      • Posted by iRoll on

        This was good: “Anyone who does not agree is a proponent of systemic discrimination!”

        In “Loigic” [sp] class we call this black and white thinking, or some might say a false dichotomy. Either way it betrays a simplistic mindset. You know, like George Bush declaring “you are either with us or with the terrorists”. Same kind of tomfoolery.

        ps: No is trying to make you feel guilty.

  8. Posted by Hunter on

    We don’t want cruise ships in our area, the ships scare away animals that we hunt during the summer, we stock up on our catch from summer to eat during the winter months.
    There is really no benefit with these cruise ships, just bunch of people walking around and then they travel to calving grounds or migratory routes scaring animals away.

  9. Posted by Putuguk on

    For any sell-able product to be commercially successful, there has to be a willing buyer and a willing seller. In this case the product on sale is land access. QIA may have set itself up as a willing seller, but their potential buyers have other choices other than buying from them. Only one of those choices is not to operate anymore.

    IOL does not cover all the areas of tourism interest, as obviously there is another 82% of the land that is not IOL. We also did not select our land for tourism potential only, so we have to assume that at least some IOL is of no interest to tourism operators anyway.

    If a cruise ship has the choice between incurring $15,000 in fees to land somewhere and $0 to land somewhere else, the choice is pretty clear. Keep in mind when a cruise ship stops in a community, they are using Commissioners land, not IOL.

    What will happen is that tourism operators will avoid IOL so that they will not have to incur these costs. Tourism will continue on crown and commissioners lands.

    NTI long ago faced the same pricing choice in setting up fees for mineral exploration on IOL subsurface. After a couple of decades of selling mineral access, the fees charged are a bit higher than for crown, but not much so. This is even for IOL parcels that have a great deal of mineral potential.

    There is no reason to believe the tourism industry would not react and agree to pay the same way. If crown land access for tourism is free, it stands to reason that QIA would only be able to charge a nominal fee for IOL access and still expect some revenue.

    IOL will be less impacted by tourism as operators shift to crown land, which may be the result or consequence that QIA is actually seeking. They may be intentionally pricing themselves out of the marketplace in order to ensure that IOL is unaffected by tourism activity. This is a valid land management decision and should be understood that way.

    QIA will not see the big gain in revenues that they may be expecting, and they should be more careful in creating unrealistic expectations about this. They may be presuming that tourism operators will not adapt and will continue to operate as they do now. Given how marginal tourism is in the arctic, this is not realistic.

    • Posted by Israel MacArthur on

      Exactly, you have summed up my arguments much more clearly than I was ever able to.

    • Posted by Premier on

      Now for the GN to match the fees to anywhere the cruise ship lands in Nunavut that will be great, the same with KIA in their region.
      Get cracking people!

  10. Posted by Putuguk on

    When Inuit wanted to benefit from air transportation, we bought airlines.

    When Inuit wanted to benefit from shipping, we bought into shipping companies.

    When Inuit wanted to benefit from fishing, NFC bought a trawler.

    When Inuit wanted to benefit from mining, we established the Nunavut Resources Corporation and dozens of mine service companies.

    Sure, Inuit could have benefited a little from any of these things by passively enjoying the results of these commercial activities.

    Regular scheduled flights and freight, doing barge orders and receiving mining royalties. Sure, Inuit may benefit a little from charging fees to tourism operators if and when they are willing to pay them.

    But if Inuit want to really benefit from tourism, especially cruise ship traffic, why is no-one looking at buying a cruise ship and operating it?

  11. Posted by are fees the right concern on

    Inuit in Qikiqtani communities have expressed concern regarding the increased amount of commercial tourism activities in the region, particularly cruise ships.

    They should publish the specific concerns that have been sent in. Is fees the right answer to the concerns? Dollars don’t make everything right.

    I bet most of the concerns revolve around community preparedness for the 400 people that land who want to see buy arts and crafts, see participate in community cultural presentations. People are coming but communities are not ready or organized. When 400 people land on the shores they need services, welcomers, guides, transportation, maps directions, proper facilities – ie porta potties, hand wash, warmup areas, tent shelters…the list goes on. The communities that are on the cruise stops need to get organized…maybe get a trained community organizer that can coordinate the few short hours of a stop. This is no different that what a cruise ship landing in Mexico or the Bahamas has there are dock side locals who coordinate with the ships. You arrive at the dock and busses/guides are ready to take you on your afternoon adventure.

    Why is this just QIA and not all regions. As NTI is head organization does this not have to be presented by the whole. How can only one region decide on a fee. What if the Kivalliq Region says no fees and Kitikmeot Region says we want more than the fees presented by QIA. Who is going to regulate the fees.

    port /landing fees are paid by most tour airlines and shipping /cruise companies so this is not new for most areas of the world. The cost is in some cases hidden to the cruiser or just added on in the taxes and fees of your ticket your cruise price. The fees could add up if multiple communities were visited on one cruise.
    Maybe they should look into the scheme that Green Land has as a model.

    Not just cruise ships … the fees list include all air planes/ helicopters /boats /hikers etc. As this is a tax the local community guide /operator do not have the ability to absorb this cost and will show it as an add-on fee. So a hunter, fisher, hiker on a 10 day trip has 500.00 added to their adventure.

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