Thank you and Good Morning. This is my fifth trip to China and I am very happy to be back. As Premier of the Northwest Territories I’m pleased to talk to you about tourism opportunities in the Northwest Territories. I’d like to thank the Canadian Tourism Commission for hosting this event and for the work it does to help promote Canada as a tourism destination around the world and especially here in China.
With me today is Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment David Ramsay and officials from his department. I am also joined by my colleague Mr. Robert Hawkins, Member of the Legislative Assembly. We also have one of our tourism operators specializing in catering to Chinese tourists with us today, Ms. Verda Law, owner of Yellowknife Tours Ltd.
The Northwest Territories offers Chinese tourists many once-in-a-lifetime tourism opportunities. We offer authentic Aboriginal cultural experiences. You can go dog sledding, ice-fishing, or snowshoeing beneath the northern lights.
You can stay at our luxury wilderness accommodations and go hiking or paddling under the midnight sun. You can go fishing or hunting with our experienced guides. For all of these activities and more, our experienced outfitters and tour operators provide all the gear and will teach you what you need to know.
Ours is a modern territory with many modern conveniences, but within easy reach of real wilderness experiences and Aboriginal culture. You can get out of our capital city Yellowknife with a five-minute cab ride from your hotel, and be cross country skiing on a remote frozen lake or hiking in the woods. Or you can take a bush plane or a boat to get further into the wilderness.
We boast five national parks that preserve our northern wilderness. You can see our wildlife roaming free. Our songbirds, geese and ducks nest by the thousands on our tundra and lakes. Caribou migrate in huge herds. You can hike in a national park at the top of the world, or challenge a wild northern river by canoe where few have ever travelled.
The northern lights are nature’s greatest light show. On winter nights in the Northwest Territories, the Aurora Borealis is often so vivid it seems close enough to touch. You can watch them while standing on a frozen lake, or from an outdoor hot tub at a wilderness lodge, or a heated and enclosed deck chair on a 360-degree viewing deck.
It is a magical experience and we in the Northwest Territories are lucky enough to see them regularly on winter nights.
The NWT is the ancestral home to seven different Aboriginal peoples and half of our residents are Aboriginal. Aboriginal traditions are still vibrant in our small communities and many of our people still enjoy time on the land participating in traditional activities like hunting and trapping. Our traditional artisans produce world-class works of Aboriginal art, including carvings, moose hair tufting and birch bark baskets.
We welcome the Chinese traveler and are proud to have a local tour company – Yellowknife Tours – that caters specifically to the Chinese market.
The Northwest Territories is like no other place on earth and I’d invite you all to come and experience it for yourselves. We are pleased to be here today to speak with you about our territory and the tourism opportunities it provides.