26 August 2011
Haines Junction, Yukon
For many years, Northern Canada has been a major draw for both domestic and international tourists. Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Yukon welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, which bring in hundreds of millions in revenues. Northern Canada is particularly appealing to visitors looking to experience traditional ways of life through Aboriginal culture.
In cooperation with territorial governments, the Government has introduced several measures to promote economic development opportunities in the North, including many that are focused on tourism.
In 2009, Canada’s Economic Action Plan provided $50 million over five years to establish the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor). With tourism as one of its primary long-term targets, the agency invested, in June and July 2011 alone, more than $1.2 million to help build tourism capacity in the North. These investments are creating jobs and opportunities for businesses in the region.
Through the Canadian Tourism Commission, several Northern attractions have been featured as part of a new Signature Experiences Collection program, aimed at promoting tourism businesses in international markets. For instance, visitors can take in a rafting adventure on Alsek River or relive the gold rush at the S.S. Klondike National Historic Site.
Within the northern territories, nine national parks and two national historic sites are administered by Parks Canada report attendance. Due in part by its accessibility, Kluane National Park, Yukon, shows the highest attendance of any other site in northern Canada, with more than 47,000 visitors in 2010-2011, accounting for 55% of total attendance to Parks Canada administered locations in the North.
Canada’s northern parks and historic sites have seen a general increase in visitors of 18.2% between 2008-2009 and 2010-2011. In 2010-2011, visitation to Parks Canada administered locations in northern Canada was up 8% with 85,781 visitors, compared to 79,630 the previous year. Compared to Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, national parks in Yukon have the highest attendance rate in the North with over 82,000 visitors, or 96.4% of overall visitation. Greatly due to their remote locations, national parks in the Northwest Territories account for 2.8% of Parks Canada attendance in the North, followed by Nunavut with 0.8%.
In July 2011, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, was highlighted on the world stage when their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, arrived by seaplane, met Canadian Rangers and paddled a canoe across scenic Blachford Lake to one of its many islands.
Looking ahead, the Canadian Tourism Commission will host the GoMedia Canada Marketplace in Yukon in May 2012. This key networking event for the tourism industry, which brings together top Canadian and international media and travel journalists, will take place north of 60° for the first time in history.