Taming the Dempster and Inuvik-Tuk Highways on Two Wheels is Gaining Popularity

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January 16, 2019

For adventure travelers, there are not many roads better than the Dempster Highway to knock off the bucket list. The fabled road attracts all types of motorist but is, perhaps, most challenging for the two-wheeler types.

It explains why why ITI’s Beaufort Delta Regional Office has become a regular exhibitor at the annual – and very popular - Calgary Motorcycle Show.

“Adventure road travelers are a big part of our market when it comes to tourism in our Region,” notes Regional Tourism Development Officer, Minerva Ward.  “Just under 600 motorcyclists took the Dempster Highway to Inuvik in 2018, making this a viable niche market.”

Motorcyclists look at the ever changing road conditions of the Dempster as a challenge - a desirable notch on their belt; and to those who make it to Inuvik, come all-important bragging rights and road stories to tell. 

This year, with the added allure of bilking all the way to Tuktoyaktuk and the Arctic Ocean, and new visitor infrastructure on the way, the number of motorists taking the Dempster Highway to Inuvik and beyond is expected to rise dramatically.

ITI’s regional office has teamed up with Arctic Motorcycle Adventures owner, Lawrence Neyando to promote Beaufort Delta as an adventure destination.  Lawrence and his operation offer guided tours of the Beaufort Delta with trips from Inuvik to Tuk, and Inuvik to Eagle Plains.

Photo: Minerva Ward and Lawrence Neyando at their booth during the 2019 Calgary Motorcycle Show.

Motorcyclists tend to spend more when traveling because of their luggage limitations. Minerva says, “It’s not like they have an RV to sleep in or truck to haul their supplies. Most stay at in hotels, eat at restaurants, and buy supplies on the fly, bringing more money into the economy.”

Photo: Lawrence Neyando of Arctic Motorcycle Adventures engaging with interested motorcyclists.

Over the two-days at the show, Minerva and Lawrence were able to connect with more than 700 people. Minerva added, “Most of the people we spoke to have a high-level of awareness and interest in traveling to the NWT via the Dempster.”

A GNWT presence at events like the Calgary Motorcycle Show reflects the importance of tourism – and the GNWT’s commitment to realizing the regional economic development and diversification that tourism growth can provide to communities like Inuvik and Tuk.

Through the implementation of its’s Tourism 2020 strategy, the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment’s strategy is investing in a stronger tourism sector for the NWT.