The NWT Tourism Marketing Plan - Towards Resilience
The NWT Tourism Marketing Plan is developed annually by the NWT Tourism Marketing Director. The process involved in developing the marketing plan is robust, and involves input from industry and stakeholders.
The development of this year’s marketing plan comes at a time when travel restrictions issued by the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer have effectively closed the Northwest Territories to leisure travellers. Canada’s borders remain closed to international visitors and there is uncertainty about when and where restrictions on travel or gatherings will be lifted in the Northwest Territories. We are not alone in this challenge as the world is grappling with the impacts of COVID-19. The tourism industry has been hit hard, hit fast and it is hurting.
With rapidly changing external factors, continued uncertainty regarding timelines for border re-openings, and with resident perceptions about travel and visitors influenced by communications regarding COVID-19, the role of NWT Tourism’s marketing for the tourism industry’s recovery and eventual return to resilience is critical.
This year’s marketing plan for the Northwest Territories builds on the steps taken last year in response to our rapidly changing external environment. We have continued to shift some marketing resources back to operator support programs and we have built flexibility in our plan to work with our core funding partner, GNWT to monitor those needs and adjust accordingly. This approach enables continued availability of relief programs by GNWT for our industry to protect important destination development and marketing investments made by private and public sector.
While our target audience has traditionally been outside of the NWT, this plan includes a second year for our northern staycation marketing program, which targets NWT residents. Encouraging NWT residents to travel within the territory and enabling stronger connections between local residents and tourism operators offering spectacular visitor experiences, we will build pride in place and bolster resident hospitality for visitors. These are important foundations that will help NWT residents become comfortable with visitors from outside of the territory once again, when the time is right.
As borders across Canada begin to open up for visitors and our territory also signals it is ready to host travellers from outside of the territory, NWT Tourism will be ready. Premium story content produced will showcase spectacular stories that compel Canadians to visit our territory and will encourage communities to become tourism champions. General Sales Agents in key international markets will continue to nurture our long-term travel relationships, which are important to position the territory for recovery of international markets in future. Strategic partnerships with Destination Canada and new funding supports from the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency will strengthen our core investments. Underpinning all of this work will be flexibility in timing and tactics, sensitivity to NWT residents’ view of the visitor and a passion by NWT Tourism’s marketing staff and our industry partners who work hard to showcase and share this spectacular territory.