Tourism in NWT Reaches Record Breaking Numbers

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News Releases

YELLOWKNIFE (September 25, 2017) – Tourism numbers reached record heights in the Northwest Territories (NWT) in 2016-17. For the first time, visitor spending surpassed the $200 million mark and over 100,000 visitors travelled to the NWT.

The results bode well for the overall goal of Tourism 2020, the GNWT’s five year strategy for tourism development, which seeks to increase the value of the NWT tourism industry to $207 million annually by 2021.  

Other highlights released by the Department of Industry Tourism and Investment today include a 23% increase last season in the aurora viewing sector which contributed close to $50 million to the economy.  Leisure travel to the NWT has increased from 56% to 70% over the last 10 years while business travel is recovering. 

As the single largest renewable resource-based industry in the NWT, the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment is committed to growing the sector and the economic opportunities it creates.


“Record-breaking tourism numbers show that the investments and initiatives set out in our Tourism 2020 strategy are working. The Department, local tourism operators, and our destination marketing organization NWT Tourism, are working together to build this sector - and with it, the strength and diversity of our regional economies.”
-Wally Schumann, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment

Quick Facts:

  • In 2015-16, visitors spent $167.1 million in the NWT. In 2016/17, visitors spent $201.40 million, which represents an increase of 21%.
  • In 2015-16, 93,910 visitors travelled to the NWT. In 2016/17, 108,480 visitors travelled to the NWT, which represents an increase of 16%.

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Media Contact:

Drew Williams
Manager, Public Affairs
Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment
Phone: 867-767-9202 ext. 63037