Arctic cruise companies call for streamlined permitting

Some cruise ship operators say bureaucratic red tape in the eastern Arctic is discouraging companies from running trips off Nunavut's shores.
The Nunavut Tourism office in Cambridge Bay. Nunavut Tourism says it plans to consult cruise ship companies as it refines its tourism strategy,

Some cruise ship operators say bureaucratic red tape in the eastern Arctic is discouraging companies from running trips off Nunavut's shores.

Quark Expeditions says that's one of the reasons the company cut back on its cruises to the territory in the last few years.

Eric Stangeland, Quark Expeditions' executive vice-president of operations, says the permitting process is costly and takes too long.

"There doesn't seem to be one co-ordinated body to deal with these things, so there's a number of different people that we have to contact and sometimes they're difficult to get in touch with and the response time isn't always prompt," he said. "Absolutely I think it would help to streamline it and make it easier and more cohesive."

The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators is also calling for a more efficient permitting process. It says some of the permits required are appropriate for mining, not cruises.

Nunavut Tourism says it's aware of the concerns and plans to consult cruise ship companies as it refines its tourism strategy, but it says fragile areas need to be protected.

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