Inuvik council irked by N.W.T. tourism campaign offering 140 flights to Yellowknife

At Inuvik Town Council, some are upset that very few of the 150 trips being given away by an N.W.T. tourism campaign would be headed to their region.

Only the 5 'super prize' trips will visit regions outside capital

Fireworks during the Inuvik Sunrise Festival in January 2016. Out of 150 trips to N.W.T. being given away by N.W.T. Tourism, only five trips for two will visit a region other than Yellowknife. (David Thurton/CBC)

At Inuvik Town Council, some are upset that very few of the 150 trips being given away by an N.W.T. tourism campaign would be headed to their region.

"I was very disappointed to hear that all the flights that they were giving away were to Yellowknife," said Inuvik Mayor Jim McDonald.

"It was an opportunity to show the north to the people from the south."

The N.W.T. Secrets contest campaign was launched by the Northwest Territories' tourism marketing organization to celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary. There will be 150 free trips to the N.W.T.: 140 single round-trip flights to Yellowknife leaving from Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, and five "Super Prizes" — five trips for two to one of five regions in the N.W.T.

One reason almost all flights are headed to Yellowknife is due to the choice of airline for the promotion, says Cathie Bolstad, executive director of N.W.T. Tourism.

"It became obvious to us that Air Canada doesn't fly in as a partner into those regions. But we needed to make the showcase of all five regions the underlying thread of everything we did."

Bolstad says a lot of what is being done to promote N.W.T. Tourism "is not seen in the N.W.T. because they are not our target." There are other elements to the campaign such as a van with decals out in Vancouver, Whistler and Victoria showcasing road travel to the Western Arctic and new television commercials that will begin running Friday night.

'Huge opportunities'

Vicky Gregoire-Tremblay, Inuvik's economic development and tourism manager, recognized these efforts at the town council meeting but still says the promotion was a missed opportunity.

"I know that elements of the campaign do focus on the region, but that big element ...  is something that draws people to the website and contest but also brings lots of people to just one part of the entire territory."

The Spectacular N.W.T. website has had 157,128 visits since the campaign launch, with about 87 per cent being from Canada.

"The team is very proud of what we are seeing in terms of results... and there are huge opportunities through this contest and for our communities to step up and jump on board," said Bolstad.

There are two ways to win tickets, either by filling out a contest form on the N.W.T. Tourism website which will be given away in three draws, on Feb. 21, March 21 and April 10 or by finding a golden ticket that is hidden in promotional folders NWT Tourism has sent to cities across the country. People can pick up the material at tourism trade shows in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto, at selected restaurants in Vancouver and Toronto, and on the Lakeshore GO Transit line in the Greater Toronto Area.


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