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Tourism in Nunavut

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Title: Tourism in Nunavut  
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Subject: Tourism in Nunavut, Tourism in New Brunswick, Tourism in Ontario, List of attractions and landmarks in Stirling, Alberta, Tourism in Quebec
Collection: Tourism in Nunavut
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Tourism in Nunavut

Tourism in Nunavut is largely based around outdoor activities such as nature experiences, although cultural activities surrounding the Canadian territory's rich Inuit culture are also popular. Wildlife watching is a popular attraction for tourists in Nunavut. The territory is home to a number of wildlife and bird sanctuaries, and it is possible to spot walrus, polar bears, a large variety of birds and belugas throughout the territory. Outdoor adventure activities are also popular. Nunavut has a wide and lengthy river system, meaning that there are a number of canoeing and kayaking opportunities to suit travellers of every skill level. Nunavut's vast expanse of uninhabited territory make it possible to go hiking and camping in many parts of the territory, although the region's often extreme conditions and remote location necessitates the use of a guide in most circumstances for participating in the latter, even for the most experienced campers.

Nunavut Tourism does not publish detailed tourism statistics on a regular basis. However, an exit survey conducted by the Department of Economic Development and Transportation between June and October 2008 revealed that 33,378 people visited Nunavut during that period, an increase of almost 16 per cent from the number of visitors who visited Nunavut during the same period in 2006, which was 28,802. The vast majority of visitors to Nunavut are Canadian, with 96 per cent of all travellers arriving from points inside Canada. However, the leisure travel market is not as dominated by Canadian visitors, with 28 per cent of these visitors hailing from points beyond Canada's borders.


  • Attractions 1
  • Statistics 2
  • Market issues 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


The northeast coast of Baffin Island

Nunavut features a number of outdoor adventure activity opportunities as a result of the territory's vast uninhabited area. Wildlife watching is one particularly popular activity - the territory is home to walrus and belugas, as well as eleven bird sanctuaries housing millions of birds. Muskox are also spread throughout Nunavut, although the territory's tourism authority does not promote 'muskox watching' trips specifically.[1] The territory is also home to a population of polar bears, and trips designed to increase tourists' chances of spotting a polar bear are common. A number of private operators offer wildlife, bird, polar and whale watching tours, in addition to other activities.[2]

Other popular activities for tourists in Nunavut involve the Canadian territory's vast opportunities for adventuring. Canoeing and kayaking are possible on the territory's lengthy rivers, with the Thelon River being the most famous of these. This river is most popular during summer - despite not having road access direct to the river,[3] many visitors participate in kayaking or canoeing along the river each year, as it is not as difficult to navigate as some of the other rivers in Nunavut.[4] Another popular outdoor adventure activity is hiking. Nunavut Tourism promotes Nunavut as having a number of short and long hikes available to tourists, with camping possible in the middle of "caribou birthing grounds... [and at Whale Cove,] at the river, teeming with chirping white whales."[5] However, due to Nunavut's rugged terrain and often extreme conditions, Nunavut Tourism recommends the use of a guide for all campers and hikers staying the night outdoors to enhance safety.[5]

One tourism activity unique to the Arctic North is iceberg watching. During the summer season of April to July, it is possible to watch icebergs moving down rivers while the ice around them melts.[6] In addition, watching the floe edge is also a popular activity due to wildlife movement during this time. Whales can often be seen swimming metres from the ice, polar bears can be observed swimming briefly in the icy water and amphibious animals often bring themselves up on to dry land or on to the ice to sunbathe.[6]


An inukshuk at sunset.

Nunavut Tourism did not, as of 2002, produce detailed statistics about tourism numbers, trends and characteristics.[7] However, by 2010, this appeared to have changed, with Nunavut Tourism providing media outlets with general figures on trends in tourism in Nunavut. Tourism brings approximately CAD $30 million to Nunavut's economy each year according to Nunavut Tourism, with one in five of its tourists arriving on cruise ships.[8] Between June and October 2008, 33,378 people visited Nunavut by air and sea, according to the territory's Department of Economic Development and Transportation. This is an almost 16 percent increase on the number of people who visited Nunavut by air and sea during the same period in 2006, which was 28,802 people. The average age of people arriving in Nunavut was 46 during the period in 2008 that the Department of Economic Development and Transportation conducted its survey, and the majority of visitors were in the territory for business purposes. 96 percent of all business travellers entering the territory were domestic travellers (Canadian residents).[9] However, among the leisure traveller sub-group, the proportion of domestic travellers declines - Canadians make up only 72 percent of the leisure traveller arrival numbers, with travellers from the United States (20 percent) and other countries (8 percent) making up the difference. September and July account for 46 percent of arrivals, making them the busiest arrival months.[9]

The most popular tourist destination among arrivals to Nunavut was Qikiqtaaluk (Baffin Island), home to the territory's capital, Iqaluit. Visitors to Baffin Island comprised 63 percent of all travellers to Nunavut. 11 percent visited the Kivalliq Region, seven percent travelled to the Kitikmeot Region and the remainder were cruise ship passengers who visited a number of Nunavut towns during their journeys. 76 percent of visitors to the Kivalliq Region travelled for business, leisure tourism was the most popular reason given for travel to the Kitikmeot Region, and visiting friends and family was the most popular reason given for travel to Baffin Island. 21 cruise ships visited Nunavut communities in 2009.[9]

Market issues

In the 2002 Nunavut Tourism publication The Time is Right: A Vision and Strategy for Tourism Development in Nunavut, a number of issues facing Nunavut tourism operators were highlighted. One major issue for the Nunavut tourism industry is the territory's remote nature. This imposes high travel costs on visitors to Nunavut, and drives tourism numbers down. In addition, Nunavut's position north of the turnover. There are limited links between tourism operators, inhibiting opportunities for inter-sector growth.[7]

A number of [7]


  1. ^ "Experience Adventure". Nunavut Tourism. 2011. Retrieved January 25, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Plan for Business". Nunavut Tourism. 2011. Retrieved January 25, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Thelon River Fact Sheet". Canadian Heritage Rivers System. 2011. Retrieved January 25, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Incredible peace on the Thelon River". Great Canadian Wilderness Adventures. 2011. Retrieved January 25, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Camping and Hiking". Nunavut Tourism. 2011. Retrieved January 25, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b "Experience adventure: floe edge". Nunavut Tourism. 2011. Retrieved January 25, 2011. 
  7. ^ a b c "The time is right: a vision and strategy for tourism development in Nunavut".  
  8. ^ "Nunavut tourism expected to rebound".  
  9. ^ a b c Quenneville, Guy (June 2010). "Nunavut attracts 33,378 tourists during peak season". Northern News Services. Retrieved January 25, 2011. 

External links

  • Website of the Nunavut Tourism Association

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