Deline government teams up with Chinese tour operator

Deline Got’ine Government and the Beijing Best Tour Company have come to an agreement to bring tourists to Deline, N.W.T., every week.

The goal is to bring in 24 tourists weekly from Sunday to Thursday

The aurora borealis appears over Great Bear Lake, the world's 8th largest lake in Deline, Northwest Territories, Canada September 5, 2016. The Deline Got'ine Government in the Northwest Territories is partnering up with a Chinese tour company to bring dozens of tourists to Grey Goose Lodge. (Pat Kane/Reuters)

The Deline Got'ine Government and the Beijing Best Tour Company have come to an agreement. The two will work together to bring in 24 tourists every week to the Grey Goose Lodge in Deline, N.W.T.

Deline will be in charge of flights from Yellowknife to Deline, accommodations and activities. The tour company will set up the rest, including travel from China to Yellowknife and finding the tourists.

"The basis of us getting involved is community employment, community engagement," said Bob Gill, chief executive officer of Techi?q Ltd. — the business arm of the Deline government.

"Our profitability is measured in human return as much as it is in dollars and cents," said Gill.

Gill said the government and Chinese company were acquainted through friends at Northern Gateway Consulting Services — a business in Yellowknife that provides business development services.

The endeavour will create 10 new jobs, and the Deline government will hire people for activities and events like drum dances and storytelling.

The Grey Goose Lodge is about 90 per cent of the way through its $2 million upgrade, including the addition of eight cabins to the property.

Gill said the money earned from the new tourism partnership will help pay off the loan for that upgrade, but that isn't the priority.

"Our true goal is to have the community all doing something," he said.

The plan is to have the tourists do activities like moose hunting and ice fishing.

"We'll have them running around out there in conjunction with the aurora viewing, because from the middle of the lake, it's pretty spectacular."

The tour season will be from November to April, starting this year.

This August a group of travel agents from the Chinese tour company will be coming to see what Great Bear Lake is like.