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Cruises voyage back
Summer tourism from ships set to rise in some communities

Karen K. Ho
Northern News Services
Saturday, August 22, 2015

Despite ice and weather delays, summer tourism is expected to pick up in many Nunavut communities in the next few weeks due to cruise ship traffic.

NNSL photo/graphic

The Clipper Adventurer stops in Grise Fiord in 2011. This year Nunavut is expecting more cruise ships to visit the territory. - photo courtesy Jimmie Qaapiq

Ena Mucktak, manager of the Nattinnak Visitors Centre in Pond Inlet, told Nunavut News/North her community saw 10 visits from various cruise ships last year, but that number is set to increase to 16 this season.

"They're all scheduled for August," she said, while trying to prepare for one to arrive the next day on August 21. "And only one has turned back due to big waves from wind on Aug. 13. Everything's going pretty well."

Mucktak said one company is set to return to Pond Inlet three times this year, and estimated that each of the ships carries between 80 to 240 passengers.

While the visits to Pond Inlet are only four to five hours, it's still enough time for Mucktak's organization to offer visitors packages with local guides that include a tour around town, cultural performances such as throat singing, and sometimes sports with members of the community.

In Cape Dorset, the number of cruise ships is expected to be much smaller than last year.

Kristiina Alariaq of Huit Huit Tours and Dorset Suites said last year there were three or four ships, but this year there will only be one or two.

However, Alariaq said that a recent cruise that focused on the South Baffin Inuit art had a huge economic impact on local artists and the gallery due to the amount of work sold.

"Usually these people are well-educated about the Arctic in general and know about Inuit art," she said.

Alariaq didn't give specific numbers, but said that cruises that specially advertised with a focus on art resulted in very high and substantial sales in the community.

According to Alariaq, Cape Dorset has experienced a challenging year for tourism due to ice and fog, which prevented one other ship from visiting and delayed or cancelled the trips for many tourists who were supposed to arrive by air.

"For a lot of people, it's very expensive to fly here," she said. "A cruise is a different way of seeing the Arctic."

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