The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer Allows Remote Tourism Activities to Resume

News Releases

Yellowknife — April 21, 2021

The Office of the Chief Public Health Officer (OCPHO) is allowing for remote tourism activities to resume in the Northwest Territories (NWT) for the 2021 summer season under certain conditions.

NWT Tourism Operators will need to submit a Remote Tourism Operators COVID-19 Operations Plan to the OCPHO for authorization to host out-of-territory clients at remote sites in the NWT. To ensure out-of-territory visitors can self-isolate while NWT visitors and residents remain safe, these tourism operators must demonstrate that they can carry out business with no, or very minimal, contact between travellers and NWT residents who are not employees of the remote tourism operation.

The Remote Tourism Operators COVID-19 Operations Plan is a critical component of this initiative. It will clarify how the licensed remote tourism operator will reduce the risk of COVID-19 being introduced and transmitted within the NWT and will demonstrate important details such as: 

  • Transportation of workers and clients in and out of remote locations.
  • Managing COVID-19 related illness in a remote setting.
  • Medical extraction and medical capacity on site.
  • On-site isolation, support and/or care for staff and clients should the need arise.
  • Other mitigation plans for COVID-19 related arising risks.
  • Supporting and ensuring client compliance with existing public health measures.

This approach will provide remote tourism operators the opportunity to accommodate visitors during the important NWT summer tourism season, support Northern businesses, and provide jobs for NWT residents while continuing to keep our communities and residents healthy and safe. 


“We are pleased to announce changes to public health measures that take into consideration our social and economic recovery as a territory. This is especially important for areas hardest hit by the pandemic, like the tourism sector. Through collaboration and partnership with Indigenous leadership, community governments, and partners like Northwest Territories Tourism, we are committed to working on the social and economic recovery of the Northwest Territories. Today is one step forward in what we hope will be a number of changes in the coming months.”

-Caroline Cochrane, Premier of the Northwest Territories, and Minister Responsible for the COVID19 Coordinating Secretariat


“The public health measures we’ve put in place have helped keep COVID-19 virus at bay in the NWT, but they have also presented challenges for tourism operators. As we continue to vaccinate more NWT residents, this innovative approach, developed in consultation with the tourism sector, strikes the right balance between protecting NWT residents from this virus and supporting remote tourism operators.”

-Julie Green, Minister, Health and Social Services


“Tourism in the Northwest Territories was the first industry affected by COVID-19 and has been the hardest hit. We are grateful to our partners at the GNWT, the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment, the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer, and particularly the COVID Secretariat, for their assistance in finding a way to resume some tourism activities while protecting the health of the residents of the NWT.”

  • Harold Grinde, Chairperson, Northwest Territories Tourism Board of Directors

Quick facts

  • There are approximately 60 remote tourism operators in the NWT.
  • A licensed remote tourism operator is one who is able to provide a fully self-contained tour experience, where clients, staff and workers do not have to rely on commercial accommodation or food services within an NWT community, except while in transit.
  • Scheduled overnight layovers that are necessary for clients in transit to remote tourism sites must only take place in Yellowknife, Hay River, Inuvik, Fort Smith, Fort Simpson and Norman Wells.

Related links


Media Requests, please contact:

Darren Campbell

Manager, COVID-19 Communications

Health and Social Services

COVID-19 Coordinating Secretariat Government of the Northwest Territories