Inuvik tour operator wins national business award for 'authentic Arctic experiences'
Kylik Kisoun Taylor wins $10K prize from Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business
The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business is recognizing a well-known tour operator in Inuvik, N.W.T., for his work, awarding Kylik Kisoun Taylor with the 2019 National Aboriginal Youth Entrepreneur Award.
The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business is a national association that supports companies that offer opportunities to Indigenous people and businesses.
Kisoun Taylor has been running Tundra North Tours in Invuik since 2006, developing tours immersed in Gwich'in and Inuvialuit culture and values. For him, keeping these values at the forefront is what makes his business special.
"All of our guides are either Inuit or Gwich'in — most of us are mixed between the two. Our customers are able to experience an authentic Arctic experience with Indigenous people," he said.
"The stories that we tell are first-hand stories; we're not reading them from books," he said. "People are drawn to that."
In the summer, Tundra North Tours brings tourists to traditional whaling and teepee camps, while the winter tours show guests how to build their own igloos, drive on an ice road, herd reindeer and drive up to the Arctic Ocean.
The Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business says this "transformative experience" in Canada's North is why it awarded Kisoun Taylor with its top prize for young entrepreneurs. The award comes with a $10,000 prize.
"He has built bridges of respect and created a valuable source of tradition-based employment," the council stated in a press release announcing its 2019 annual award winners.
Tourists are increasingly looking to have authentic experiences, interacting with local people when they travel, Kisoun Taylor said. It's something his company has capitalized on.
"We've been offering those [experiences] for a really long time so it's been good timing for us," he said. "We've been able to offer that type of product that people are looking for."