When news of wildfires burning millions of hectares in Australia reached some of the NWT’s tour operators, they wanted to find a way to help.
Katherine Johnson, director of sales and marketing at Blachford Lake Lodge, said NWT Tourism’s Australian representative connected the lodge with SnowBest.com – a skiing and snowboarding website running an online auction to raise money for bushfire relief.
Blachford Lake Lodge is donating a three-night stay for two people to the auction, which already lists more than 60 items worth in the region of $200,000.
The Explorer Hotel, Yellowknife's Chateau Nova Hotel, Aurora Village, and NWT Tourism are also listed as contributors to the auction, which is expected to open on February 10.
“All proceeds [are] going to bushfire relief and wildlife rescue during Australia's devastating crisis,” the website reads.
The website continues: "Bid on ski [and] board holidays in Canada, USA, Europe, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia; global season passes; lift tickets; skis, boards, outerwear, base layers; action cams and more."
Johnson, at Blachford Lake Lodge, said: “It’s a good way for us to give back to Australia, one of the countries that has given us so much visitation. They are really valued guests of ours."
Over the 2018-19 financial year, 415 visitors landed at Yellowknife Airport from Australia – behind only travellers from Canada, the US, Japan, Korea, and China.
As of January 8, more than 10.7 million hectares of land had reportedly burned across Australia.
Johnson said times like this are a “great example of how we all support each other in this industry.”
“I’m not sure people realize how big the tourism industry is globally and how close we are with our partners internationally,” she said.
NWT firefighters are also lending a hand. Earlier in the week, four NWT residents left for Australia to spend the next month fighting the fires.
Emelie Peacock contributed reporting.