Should cruise tours be a priority for Nunavut?
Your editorial last week (Feb. 18) on cruise ships raised some valid points. This is a tourism sector that brings very well-heeled travelers to Nunavut and has the potential to have a major economic impact.
The approach Makivik is taking, leasing their own ship, is new, but there has been work done with cruise ships before.
In the mid 1990s the then Baffin Tourism had established a cruise ship committee and was working with existing lines and the communities to determine ways the communities could reap a larger benefit from ships visiting communities.
Discussions were also underway with a company that would bring a cruise from the northeastern U.S. up past Newfoundland to Iqaluit. Iqaluit would be the end or start point of the cruise, much like Anchorage is for Alaskan cruises. This was a joint effort with the company, Newfoundland and Baffin at the time.
This effort was progressing nicely but over a few transitions at Nunavut Tourism, and changing priorities, it was dropped.
Ships coming into communities can bring dollars, but they can also bring havoc. There were instances in the 1990s where ships pulled into a community and the passengers were told it was a “living community” which they interpreted to mean a museum. This meant they walked into homes uninvited and thought everything was “staged” displays.
For any cruise enterprises to work effectively it has to be a partnership between the communities, tourism promoters and the cruise lines. Perhaps it is time that this again becomes a priority for Nunavut.