Though the Northwest Territories isn’t able to welcome tourists this summer, records were still broken by residents when online reservations for campgrounds opened on June 10.
When the website went live at 10am that day, it immediately crashed for many residents eager to book camping spots for the remainder of the summer.
Despite the technical challenges, on the first day of bookings a total of 1,506 reservations were made for the NWT’s parks, excluding Fred Henne Territorial Park.
The Department of Industry, Tourism, and Investment (ITI) wrote in its blog that this represents a 66-percent increase over 2019, when 909 reservations were made on the booking system’s opening day.
On June 11, when reservations also opened for Fred Henne, 862 spots were booked. That’s up from 669 reservations on the same day a year prior.
“Overall, reservations reached 2,588 by close of offices on June 11. That’s a 59-percent increase over last year’s numbers,” wrote ITI.
On June 16, when ITI published its blog post, there were 3,036 reservations. By June 29, there were 4,203 reservations (where each night booked is counted as a reservation).
The record numbers come despite the camping season opening a month later than normal, on June 12, as opposed to the typical May 15 start date.
The territorial government is encouraging “staycationing” this year by giving a free night’s stay at a campsite for every five consecutive nights booked. Following the first two days of bookings, the government says it mailed out 1,192 coupons for extra nights.
NWT Parks stated there were 6,200 visits to its reservation portal in those opening days, accounting for 90,000 page views.