485 million in federal relief funding is up for grabs for tourism businesses that have struggled during the pandemic.
The fund has been set Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.
$50 million has been carved out for Indigenous businesses.
Contributions to businesses will be either non-repayable, up to $100,000 or repayable, up to $500,000.
A number of funds have already been set up by the GNWT to help boost the territory’s flagging tourism industry.
Remote tourism operators, those whose programming can be run completely outside a community, have been allowed to operate this summer.
There are approximately 60 remote tourism operators in the NWT. There are 150 tourism operators in the territory, according to Donna Lee Demarcke, Chief Executive Officer of NWT Tourism.
Tourism businesses as a whole have been struggling, with leisure travel still barred under the GNWT’s COVID-19 regulations.
Multiple groups have called for borders to open, including the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.
Under the GNWT’s Emerging Wisely plan, leisure travel won’t return until several benchmarks are hit.
Allowing leisure travel into the NWT will come when the NWT is 75 per cent fully vaccinated for the population aged 18 years and over, and there are less than 1,000 cases reported a day in Canada, and the country is reporting a fully vaccinated rate of between 66 and 75 per cent.
Restrictions on self-isolation have been lifted, but only for vaccinated residents and people granted exemptions, like those who are moving to the NWT for work or another reason.