How, and when, should the NWT resume tourism marketing?
NWT Tourism is asking for residents’ feedback as it decides how to market the territory in the age of Covid-19. The organization says a new survey will help it determine a “new messaging strategy.”
In a news release, the territorial tourism body stated the research will “help to optimize activities, timing, and messaging that will support the rebuild and recovery of the NWT’s tourism industry, when the time is right.”
NWT Tourism said it needed to know “residents’ attitudes and perceptions towards tourism” while coping with Covid-19.
The organization’s chief executive officer, Cathie Bolstad, was not available for comment.
According to Thursday’s news release, the survey will help NWT Tourism gauge how “receptive NWT residents are to receiving visitors from different areas.”
The territory has been essentially closed to tourists since mid-March through a series of public health orders related to the pandemic.
Travel restrictions have since eased to include a “travel bubble” with Nunavut, though the impact of that bubble on tourism is minimal. The NWT government says “leisure travel” – such as tourism – remains prohibited within the territory for all other visitors.
Tour operators across the territory have predicted bleak futures as travel restrictions keep tourists – and tourism dollars – out.
Some operators have estimated it will take years for the industry to recover, while others have already closed completely.
Research and analytics firm Leger will call residents for interviews and supply the online survey being used to gather feedback. The survey is set to remain available for the first few weeks of October.
Questions in the survey include asking how happy residents would be to find their community being marketed to a range of demographics – ranging from other NWT communities to southern Canadian provinces, the United States, and beyond.
The survey also asks residents to state when they would be prepared to accept tourists from the rest of Canada and other countries – ranging from right now to in a year’s time, when a vaccine is available, or “never.”
NWT Tourism encouraged people to participate in the phone survey if they receive a call.