November 10, 2020
Minister of Industry, Tourism, and Investment (ITI) Caroline Wawzonek capped off “ITI day” at the Northwest Territories Tourism (NWTT)’s annual tourism conference, by looking forward.
Speaking virtually to tourism operators, business owners and service providers, she reiterated the importance of tourism to the NWT economy and the GNWT’s commitment to helping the valued sector recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
“We need the jobs tourism creates, the entrepreneurial opportunities it generates, the infrastructure that supports it – and the revenue that all of this provides to our economy,” she said. “Your government recognizes the need to support – and continue to support – its tourism industry.”
The Department of ITI is developing a new five-year tourism strategy to take effect in April of next year.
The Minister told NWTT delegates that the new strategy will need to look beyond the immediate impacts of COVID-19 to consider how best to reposition the NWT’s tourism industry for the future.
“It (the strategy) faces a task that no other GNWT tourism strategy has ever had to address,” she noted. “It will need to reactivate tourism – from almost a standstill. It will need to stimulate and enable recovery; and it will need to pave the way for growth, especially in our regions.”
“The importance of tourism has never been as clear as it has been through the COVID-19 pandemic,” the Minister said. “It has confirmed the importance of visitors to our territory and its economy. It has re-affirmed the value that exists in our territory’s natural beauty, wide horizons, wilderness landscapes and rich culture... COVID has reminded us just how much tourism contributes to the businesses, services and people who then add to our quality of life in the North. And, it has awakened us as northerners collectively – to be both customers and ambassadors of our own tourism product.”
“Above all else, COVID-19 has changed how we as a government will need to support tourism in coming years.”