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About the North Arviat Eco-Tourism Goes to Market


The Arviat Community Ecotourism (ACE) initiative took another giant step forward in May. Five tour operators — four Canadians plus one from Britain — came to visit, their express purpose to see what Arviat has to offer. They were impressed. These guests were from companies which sell high-end, specialty- market, small-group tours to off-the-beaten- track locations around the world. So enthusiastic were they that already three small groups of paying tourists are scheduled to visit Arviat later this year. Two of the five operators have since indicated a readiness to include Arviat in their catalogue of weeklong packages on offer for 2012.


Peter Mikeeuneak and Mary Okatsiak welcome Matthew Bradley-Swan, company representative from Adventure Canada, to their traditional camp demonstration.


Arviamiut have worked hard on this project


over the past two-and-a-half years. Numerous members of the community have received training in the diverse elements of successful tourism. An array of in-town cultural events is now ready to be showcased, and a group of guides is now ready to take visitors out on the land for wildlife-viewing expeditions. There is more work to be done, to be sure, but the ACE team has reached a point where the visiting tour operators could readily see the promise. Every one of them offered a glowing report


of their five days in Arviat. “An amazing trip — thank you for sharing such an amazing destina- tion with passion and pride,” said Sue Grimwood, a company representative from Steppes Travel in London, England. The others echoed her words, expressing confidence that their clients would find great appeal in what Arviat has to offer. Two of the Canadian companies, Frontiers North and Churchill Wild, already bring groups


July/August 2011 above & beyond 17


The visitors were all taken for a short but thrilling ride by a local dog-team.


to Churchill, especially during the fall polar bear season. They see Arviat as a natural extension of their current program. Another company, Arctic Kingdom, has been running high-end adventure trips in various parts of Canada’s Arctic for many years, so embracing what Arviat now has to offer is a natural fit.


If developing the product is a challenge, getting it successfully to market is an even bigger hurdle, especially for a remote Arctic community. Arviat is now poised on the brink of success for both sides of this tourism coin.


To follow the development of tourism opportunities in Arviat, go to: www.visitarviat.ca.


© JOSH PEARLMAN (3)


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