27 FEB 2013: You won’t find reindeer and you can’t hunt narwhal for sport - there’s none of it in Nunavut as a CTC advertising campaign once conveyed. Though you will find three regions and as Colleen Dupuis, CEO of Nunavut Tourism quips, “We’re one of a kind.”


Dupuis and tourism reps visited Toronto recently to help build awareness of the country’s newest territory at Canada’s largest consumer expo, the Outdoor Adventure Show.

But before this Great White North contingent took to the trade show they met with some local media to catch us up on new developments.

Think about it. One hundred years ago the Inuit were living in the Land of Igloos. Fast Forward to today, the far north has gone from the Stone Age to the Jet Age in one leap.

Nunavut Tourism started in 1995, and Colleen notes, “We are not a mass market destination and we are never going to be a cheap destination.”

So what is it?


A dream-come true that’s made it on plenty of client’s bucket lists.

A few years ago, Scottish comedian/actor Billy Connolly did a fabulous TV series Journey to the Edge of the World exploring the Arctic Circle, and Kevin Kelly, director of membership and visitor services for Nunavut Tourism, agreed this TV show definitely helped increase interest levels.

“For sure we saw huge interest after this show aired,” he smiles as we talked about Nunavut inside chi-chi Brassai.

Film goers also might recall seeing Mount Asgard in the James Bond flick The Spy Who Loved Me. “That film scene was shot there and it certainly has brought a lot of people to see it,” he continues.

But it was when CTV Canada AM ventured to Iqaluit last summer when a frenzied Nunavut fever took over.

“We undertook the biggest live broadcast taping ever,” says Colleen elaborating on the Herculean effort undertaken by all. A massive 39 foot satellite tower was assembled in a few days to get the broadcast to air.

And they did it!

Parks and more parks


It doesn’t get any more remote than this. Hikes are a popular past-time.

For clients who wish to fully immerse in nature, Kevin recommends embarking on a 7-10 day hike through Auyuittuq National Park to see Mount Thor, famous as the earth’s greatest vertical drop.

“It’s best to hike the whole park with a local guide,” he says.

Garry Enns, external relations manager for Parks Canada’s Nunavut Field Unit, mentions the 500 archaeological sites around Ukkusiksalik National Park.

“Picture settlements dating 4,500 years ago,” he says awed by the carbon dating of an ancient civilization that once harboured the icy Tanquary Fiord now part of Quttinirpaaq National Park.

Garry lives on the ‘road to nowhere’ and still gets amazed by the return of the spring bees that pollinate the tundra’s patchwork of hardy wildflowers.

A newbie’s guide

I overheard three things to do in Nunavut:

1. Visit an artist and watch how they make products.

2. Explore a territorial or national park.

3. Get out and see wildlife – caribou, and musk ox sightings are in smaller communities.

Membership

The other big selling point: Nunavut Tourism is seeking industry members who get “significant discounts” Kevin explains when they join.

“Typically air price could be up to $1900 return but as an (industry) member there’s a substantial discount,” he says suggesting air prices could be as low as $1200 return.

Agents and tour operators interested in becoming a member of Nunavut Tourism need to contact Kevin Kelly (members@nunavuttourism.com) to get started.

Good for small groups, “we don’t take groups of 50 to 200 people. Most trips are 8 to 10 people,” says Colleen.

Accessibility

“We’re like nowhere else on earth but it’s not that far,” Colleen explains on how the capital, Iqaluit is only a three hour plane ride from Ottawa on board a 737 aircraft.

“You even get a meal during this flight,” adds Kevin.

Okay, sign me up. I’m sure to find some of it in Nunavut.

www.nunavuttourism.com

author

Ilona Kauremszky

A regular contributor to Travel Industry Today, Ilona is a prize winning journalist whose writing pursuits have taken her around the globe.

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