April 13, 2018
The hike to the pinnacle of Bear Rock will leave a person sweaty and sore but the view is well worth it. Below, the community of Tulita sprawls out, the water of the Great Bear and Mackenzie Rivers weave and rush, and hills and mountainsides dot the landscape as far as the eye can see. It’s a view people would pay for.
Giving visitors the opportunity to purchase this travel experience through boat and guided-hiking tours was just one of the ideas generated at Tulita’s first-ever Tourism Conference.
The conference was hosted in partnership between the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment, the Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC), and the Tulita Land Corporation from March 21 -22, 2018.
It’s a foundational first-step in diversifying the economy.
Over the course of the two day conference, guest speakers discussed topics ranging from building tourism from the ground up, starting an outfitting business, risk management, and tourism licensing. The focus was determining next steps towards building a sustainable tourism economy within the community.
Conference delegates worked together to craft an inventory of community tourism assets, infrastructure and products that could be promoted to potential tourists.
“The Tulita Tourism Conference helped us take a holistic approach to developing this new industry in the community,” says Jess Fortner, Sahtu Regional Superintendent with the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment.
“This was a great chance to meet and begin generating ideas and identify a path forward. By next year, the hope is that we can meet with community members to flesh out applications for ITI programs such as Community Tourism Infrastructure Contribution, Tourism Business Mentorship, and Tourism Product Diversification and Marketing. Once we’ve developed the foundation for Tulita’s tourism potential, these programs can help the community take that next step forward.”
In 2017, Tulita’s application for the Community Tourism Infrastructure Contribution resulted in the creation of two new campsites along the shores of the Mackenzie River. It’s an important piece of infrastructure that allows paddlers to spend time in the community before continuing on their voyage. The first campground was finished in 2017 and within its first season, welcomed hundreds of visitors. The second campsite is slated for completion in 2019.
The Canol Trail is another iconic attraction that draws visitors from around the world to the Sahtu. The recent completion of the Canol Trail wire clean-up program and the creation of new infrastructure along the path can enhance the tourism potential of the historic area.