Attracting tourists to the North

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The Nunavut government’s Economic Development and Transportation department has released a report entitled, Nunavut Marine Tourism Management Plan 2016-2019 that outlines new laws and regulations to assist tourism operators who wish to visit various communities in the North.

The report will help better prepare for, and attract, cruise ship traffic to northern communities. According to the report, the number of passenger vessel voyages through Nunavut waters has increased to 40 in 2015, from 11 in 2005. The estimated number of passengers on those vessels in that time has also increased to 3,680 from 1,045. Pleasure craft voyages have also increased from nine in 2005 to 30 in 2014. That upward trend is expected to increase as the Northwest Passage becomes more navigable and due to the popularity of tourists wanting to visit the site of the HMS Erebus in Queen Maud Gulf near Gjoa Haven — one of two ships lost during the 1845 Sir John Franklin Expedition through the Northwest Passage.

That increased cruise traffic could mean more jobs and economic opportunities for local people.

the marine strategy will include:

  • codes of conduct for marine tourism operators and visitors;
  • a “community code” with “guidelines or helpful hints” on how to host cruise ships in a community;
  • information packages including “visitor behaviour management,” and “the role of a Hamlet in controlling visitors”;
  •  a Tourism Handbook for Nunavut;
  •  marine tourism awareness sessions;
  •  amendments to the Travel and Tourism Act to include new marine tourism regulations; and
  • “tourism plans” for communities — four by March 2017 and another three by March 2018.

The report also recommends GN tourism officers and staff provide input on “strategic marine tourism transportation infrastructure by March 2018”.