November 6, 2017
Minister Wally Schumann recognized the many contributions of the territory’s growing tourism industry at the NWT Tourism Gala and Awards on November 2, 2017 in Inuvik. The Minister also presented this year’s Parks Hospitality Award to Lucy Simon of Sambaa Deh Territorial Park. Below are Minister Schumann’s full remarks.
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Our economy gains strength as it grows more diverse, and our government is doing its part to promote, contribute, and invest in progress across all sectors of our economy. However, we cannot grow the economy, but provide the economic climate for residents to develop their businesses and find success.
We are committed to investing in and helping grow the tourism industry. Recent numbers from 2016-2017 show visitors spent over $200 million in the Northwest Territories last year, a 21 percent increase from the previous year. We also passed 100,000 visitors for the first time ever.
The Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment is committed to having a vibrant tourism industry. The work of the Department is guided by a mandate to operate and maintain a system of parks and parks facilities that support and enhance our tourism industry.
In the first two years of our mandate, we have invested close to seven million dollars in improving and expanding our facilities with a variety of new playgrounds, camping loops, marinas and washroom and shower facilities.
ITI’s Parks Hospitality Award program was created in 2005 to recognize those individuals who – by going above and beyond – exhibit extraordinary hospitality and service in our parks.
We all know from personal experience that word of mouth is a very powerful factor in choosing vacation destinations.
Camper submissions in our satisfaction survey repeatedly made the same point: Although the beautiful scenery is wonderful and the experiences new and exciting, the highlight of their trip were the people. Most often, it was the friendly hospitality and professional service they receive from parks staff members that made the trip memorable.
This year was no exception, and we received some very complimentary feedback.
Lucy Simon from Sambaa Deh Territorial Park received some great feedback from campers this year. There were many visitor comments that commended Lucy’s outstanding service, excellent hospitality, and dedication to providing the best possible stay for campers at the park. She would call to inquire about feedback on how she can improve the visitor experience. It’s evident that when her guests are happy, she is happy.
Throughout the camping season Lucy provided a BBQ on several long weekends to welcome visitors to the park. Guests were also provided hand-drawn interpretive maps illustrating trails, safety warnings about cliffs, and wildlife. It was noted in comments that she maintained a spotless campground while graciously sharing local knowledge and history of the Sambaa Deh Territorial Park to visitors.
I would like to share a few comments we received about Lucy from park visitors:
“Exceptional Service. Best campground hosts I’ve encountered in the NWT so far. Friendly, helpful, knowledgeable! Provided a hiking map and a bit of history of the area. Lucy clearly explained where to access the well-maintained trails”.
“Campground was spotless, excellent welcome from Lucy and Isadore (Lucy’s husband). Excellent camp attendants. Would recommend this park to everyone and would come back again”.
“Thank you for making this campground such a wonderful place to stay. We really enjoyed ourselves and wished we had planned to stay longer. We hope to come back again”.
“Outstanding Bear Safety Talk – There was a black bear in the park during our 4-day stay. The entire staff did an amazing job dealing with the situation, communicating frequent updates and ensuring our safety. Thanks for the exceptional experience”.
“Please keep these hosts here, excellent people”.
It is my great pleasure today to present the 2017 Parks Award to Mrs. Lucy Simon from Sambaa Deh Territorial Park.
Lucy, I want to thank you for your extra effort and consideration as a representative of the Northwest Territories and of our tourism industry.
Congratulations Lucy, please come up to the stage to receive your award.
Thank you all for coming today and please join me in a round of applause for a well-deserved award winner.