Tourism visitation and spending numbers released

YELLOWKNIFE ( March 21, 2016)Statistics today released confirm one of the Northwest Territories’ (NWT) most important growth industries proved resilient in a difficult financial climate.

The 2014-2015 tourism results were collected from a comprehensive survey completed every four years by the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment’s (ITI) Tourism and Parks division, providing benchmarks for a wide range of variables, including spending, trip characteristics and travel motivations.

Visitation and expenditures remain on a substantially positive five-year trend, with visitor spending increasing from $94.1 million in 2010-2011 to $146.6 million in 2014-2015, and visitation increasing from just over 65,000 in 2010-2011, to nearly 85,000 in 2014-2015.

Year-over-year, tourism expenditures were up by 11 per cent in 2014-2015, while visitation fell by eight per cent from 2013-2014.

There was an increase in people visiting the territory primarily for fishing — an activity which had seen three straight year-over-year decreases — and a 28 per cent rise in expenditures by visitors who came for Aurora viewing.

The Government of the Northwest Territories’ (GNWT) Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI) invested in many tourism initiatives through Tourism 2015: A Tourism Plan for the Northwest Territories — the Department’s unified tourism development strategy.

The Department of ITI provides significant investment in tourism research to better understand visitor behavior in support of a strong, diversified economy.

Full statistics are available on the Department of ITI’s website.


“Tourism is an area the Department of ITI has worked tirelessly to support and provide strategic investment. 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. The Department will continue to support development in this important growth sector moving forward.”

-          Bob McLeod, Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment

Quick facts

  • Outdoor adventurers spent $6 million last year; a 46 per cent improvement year-over-year.
  • 4,272 fishers visited the territory last year; a 24 per cent rise year-over-year.
  • Hunters spent $7.1 million last year; up 20 per cent year-over-year.
  • Visitors who were visiting friends and relatives spent $12 million last year; up 35 per cent year-over-year.
  • Tourism is the single largest renewable resource-based industry in the NWT.

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Media inquiries for the department

Teresa Sanderson
Senior Communications Officer
Industry, Tourism and Investment
1-867-767-9202 (ext. 63038)