A northern town tries the staycation – Arctic Tourism and the Pandemic: Ep 3

A scene from Hay River in Canada’s Northwest Territories. (Courtesy Peter Magill)
Prior to the pandemic, Arctic regions and chambers of commerce around the world had increasingly touted tourism as a key economic tool.

It’s an industry that provides jobs for a variety of education levels, promotes small-scale entrepreneurship and creates sustainable development lacking in many of the expensive and hard-to-get-to regions of the North.

Prior to 2020, the industry was on the upswing across Canada’s North, and it’s hard to overstate how hard the pandemic has hit the tourism industry in the territories.

In this ongoing series, Eye on the Arctic speaks to business experts, community members and policy makers on how the tourism shutdown is affecting northern communities, their economies and industry workers, and the strategies being put in place to respond.

Arctic Tourism and the Pandemic: Episode 3

Peter Magill, the Tourism and Economic Development Coordinator in Hay River in Canada’s Northwest Territories, talks us through the town’s ‘Haycation’ campaign and what other communities might learn from its experience:

To subscribe to the podcast and listen to previous episodes, visit Radio Canada International’s site here.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Chamber of Commerce in Canada’s Northwest Territories says tourism threatened by COVID-19 border restrictions, CBC News

Finland: How not to promote Arctic tourism, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: Iceland’s ‘COVID-19 passport’ offers preview of debate over post-vaccine travel, CBC News

Norway: Norwegian Arctic wilderness tourism hit particularly hard by coronavirus, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: All Russia’s North Pole cruises rescheduled to 2021, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Summer tourism recovery is slow going in Sweden, Yle News

United States: Airline shutdown creates new challenges for rural Alaska, The Associated Press

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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