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Speech - 2012 Nunavut Tourism Conference

Date: 3/21/2012 12:00:00 AM

Full event description: 

Thank you for coming out to this dinner event this evening. I’m grateful for this opportunity to have this time with you during Nunavut’s first tourism conference. I hope that you have been having an engaging and productive conference.

Today, we hear quite a lot about mineral development and mining. It’s the biggest and fastest growing part of our private sector, and it’s the best hope of bringing a large number of well paid jobs for Nunavummiut now and into the future. 

But at the same time, I think most people in Nunavut recognize that we also need to diversify and develop other sectors, like tourism. Not only as economic insurance, but for its own sake – to offer alternative livelihoods to people whose skills and passion will be most appreciated in the tourism sector.

So, what is tourism? I think it has a lot to do with all the economic activities connected with serving the travelling public. 

Using our airlines, staying in our hotels, eating in restaurants and dining rooms, taking taxis, shopping in our stores, buying our arts and crafts, learning about and enjoying our culture, having adventures and getting out on our land and water. 

All of these activities can be understood as part of the tourism industry. All of these activities support each other in some way. And as each one grows and becomes more competitive, the industry as a whole will grow and become more competitive – and that can only be good for Nunavut’s economy as a whole.

Within the tourism industry there are, of course, different types of operations serving different markets. There are discretionary or leisure travellers, and less discretionary business and government travellers. 

But many tourism businesses serve both of these markets. And where they don’t, many of the skills required to serve them are interchangeable. And both can make an important contribution to Nunavut’s economic prosperity.

Tourism can be a major driver for socio-economic progress in all of our communities, it can bring growth, employment and revenue to local communities and local people. And in doing so, tourism will help achieve an important part of this government’s legacy – the reduction of poverty in our communities.

Challenges in tourism are two-fold: developing a product that enough people will pay good money for; and ensuring that Nunavummiut are able to benefit from tourism. 

To succeed on both counts, we need to make investments not only in businesses, products and services, but more importantly in our people and our communities.

As we build tourism in Nunavut, we will only achieve excellence if we work together. Individuals, communities, small businesses, large businesses, non-governmental agencies, land claim organizations and different levels of government, all have to work together. For example,

1. High quality marketing to get people there in the first place. 

2. The locations look great. Well built, maintained or restored, as well as clean and organized.

3. The products are professionally delivered by well-trained local people who are able to make a living from their work.


4. The transportation, food and accommodations are excellent.

In the end, it’s all about excellence!

The traditional Inuit camp thrived and prospered when good decisions were made and everyone did their jobs. By the same token, tourism will thrive and prosper with good consensus decision-making, planning and everyone doing a good job.

So, what is the future of our tourism industry? I see that was a topic of discussion at this conference, and it’s one I’m sure will be addressed in the Tourism Strategy for Nunavut that’s currently being developed. 

That strategy will guide the development of the industry for many years, so it must be fully endorsed by the tourism industry, as well as by government bodies and organizations. I encourage you all to continue participating in the development of the strategy.

There are a number of areas where a strategy is needed to guide the development of tourism in Nunavut: 

o Product development to ensure that our tourism businesses offer innovative and competitive services

o Training so that more Nunavummiut are able to participate in the sector;

o Marketing of the territory and its tourism assets; and

o Community support and community readiness. 

Our Tourism Strategy will also need to spell out a vision for the sector, and I think that vision has been coming together, including at this conference. 

But it must also contain more practical details, like which organizations have committed to implementing different parts of the strategy, the resources that will be required, and where they will come from. 

It is particularly important that organizations like Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated, Parks Canada, Can-Nor, the Department of Environment, Nunavut Arctic College, Nunavut Tourism and other others, commit to playing their part and sign-off on the finished strategy.

Nunavut’s guides, outfitters, operators, small businesses and communities must be full participants in the tourism industry. We must make informed investments in our people and our communities to allow them to benefit from tourism.

I know that the people with the interest, the knowledge and the determination to create a successful tourism industry are sitting in this room today, and I have no doubt that we will make it happen together! I would like you to keep that in mind over the rest of this conference.

To wrap up, I will leave you with an announcement for an event that we have just recently gotten word of. I have managed to get this far tonight without talking much about the marketing of Nunavut’s tourism industry, which is very important. 

What good is a great product if nobody knows about it? Well, you could call this announcement destination marketing.

We recently learned that CTV’s morning show “Canada AM” will be broadcasting from Nunavut on July 9th – Nunavut Day – and July 10th. This is a great opportunity to show millions of TV watchers in the rest of Canada what Nunavut has to offer, and I think we should all thank Nunavut Tourism for making it happen. 

Thank you and I hope you have an enjoyable evening.