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NWT Tourism to give away 150 free flights
Promotion held in support of Canada 150 celebration

Jessica Davey-Quantick
Northern News Services
Friday, January 27, 2017

NWT Tourism would like to borrow your Facebook and your Twitter, Instagram and friends and family.

NNSL photo/graphic

A new NWT Tourism campaign hopes to draw Canadians to the North by sharing 150 secrets like aurora viewing over 150 days, as well as giving away 150 free flights to the NWT. - NNSL file photo

The Northwest Territories' main marketer launched a campaign this week to help drive tourism to the territory, offering 150 Air Canada round-trip flights from cities across Canada to come visit the NWT. To do that, she says NWT Tourism is looking to harness the power of NWT residents.

"It's really a hook, we really want to bait them and say, 'Now come,'" said NWT Tourism executive director Cathie Bolstad.

The campaign, centred around the federal Canada 150 celebration, features 150 NWT secrets shared over the course of 150 days, as well as 150 round-trip Air Canada tickets to the territory from Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton or Vancouver.

The secrets, Bolstad said, range from highlighting community activities such as Inuvik's Sunrise Festival and Yellowknife's SnowKing Winter Festival, to natural wonders.

"We've got some of the biggest wows," said Bolstad. "Falls that are twice the height of Niagara falls, deepest lake, tallest tipi in Fort Simpson, oldest rock, longest river, these are the things that Canadians are curious about."

And, there is the aurora. According to statistics from the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment, the number of tourists arriving to view the Northern lights rose 48 per cent from 2014-15 to 2015-16, with total visitors to the NWT rising 11 per cent.

The campaign is targeted at the Canadian market, in part because the strong American dollar (and subsequent weaker Canadian dollar) could translate into more domestic tourism dollars.

"We hope they're staying in Canada, other Canadians," said Bolstad.

There will also be five Super Prizes, which include flights for two, local transportation, hotel accommodation and activities in one of five tourism regions across the territory.

"We want them to go beyond the capital city," said Bolstad. "We want to really create those super pack winners as evangelists for the region we take them into."

People can enter the contest on the NWT Tourism web page, or by finding a golden ticket.

Golden tickets will be distributed in a number of different locations, including the Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show, the Vancouver Outdoor Adventure Show, the Toronto Sportsman Show and the Calgary Outdoor Adventure show. Tickets will also be on the move, in either a branded van roaming Vancouver or the Go Train on the Lakeshore Transit route. Two restaurants, as yet unannounced, in Toronto and Vancouver will also distribute ballots. A radio station in both Toronto and Vancouver will also give listeners the chance to win.

"It's good for our economy," said Bolstad. "When we've got a strong tourism economy we've got better restaurants, we've got better activities for people who live there and money flowing into the territories."

Airline ticket winners will be selected on Feb. 21, March 21 and April 10, with the Super Prize winners selected on April 10.

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