NWT tourism sector thriving despite economy, stats suggest

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The tourism industry continues to thrive in the Northwest Territories despite a slumping economy, according to recent government figures.

The territorial department of industry, tourism and investment says visitation and tourist expenditures remain on a ‘substantially positive five-year trend’.

Visitors spent $146.6 million in the NWT in 2014-2015 compared to $94.1 million in 2010-2011. In that same period, yearly visitation increased to 85,000 from 65,000.

Department officials say results were collected as part of an extensive survey that’s conducted every four years.

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The survey found that most people came to the territory in 2014-2015 to visit friends and relatives, though more are coming to tour and hunt year-on-year.

Interestingly, 5,000 fewer people visited the NWT in 2014-2015 for Aurora viewing compared to the previous year. However, visitor spending to see the northern lights rose by over $5 million from 2013-2014 to 2014-2015.

“Tourism is an area the department of ITI has worked tirelessly to support and provide strategic investment,” said Premier Bob McLeod in a statement.

“These numbers prove these investments have been well-placed. Tourism remains a positive and growing part of our economy and presents one of our strongest opportunities for diversifying our economy.”GRAPH 1GRAPH 2

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