N.W.T. Tourism says it’s opening new markets in China. This past March, the organization received a $1.2 million bump in funding from the territorial government, in part to get into the Chinese market.
Jenny Bruce is with N.W.T. Tourism. She say one tour operator saw 1,000 visitors from China last year, and she expects that number to double next year.
“They're always looking for a new experience and we're the new sexy thing for them,” Bruce says. “They like to go see the aurora, they like to go out on city tours. We’re finding they like to get into the deep communities. They were very interested in going to Tuktoyuktuk this year."
N.W.T. Tourism has been invited to the Premier's trade mission to China this winter, Bruce says.
'It really supports the local entrepreneur.' - Jackie Challis, economic development and tourism manager, Inuvik
Jackie Challis is the economic development and tourism manager for the Town of Inuvik. She sees plenty of opportunities for northerners to benefit from growth in tourism.
“Tourism isn't an overnight industry but it's also an industry that has low barriers to entry so a person can get started really easily,” Challis says. “It really supports the local entrepreneur and I think that's what government is doing right.”
About 75,000 tourists passed through the Northwest Territories this past year. That's up by four per cent from last year. Overall spending by tourists is up about 5 percent.