More types of NWT tourism business can now get pandemic relief

Businesses that rely on tourism in the NWT but don’t have a tour operator’s licence can now apply for pandemic relief from the territorial government.

In a written statement on Wednesday, the NWT’s Department of Industry, Tourism, and Investment said a program launched last month for licensed tour operators would be expanded. The program had been criticized as it excluded the likes of restaurants, galleries, and souvenir shops.

The department said it had taken that feedback into account and would now accept applications from those forms of business.


“The change, which takes effect immediately, will allow tourism-related businesses to be exempted in order to receive the short-term assistance they need to survive, recover and position for long-term growth,” the department wrote.

“It highlights the department’s commitment to be flexible in its response to Covid-19 and all of its impacts.”

To be eligible for funding, applicants need to demonstrate the need for financial support and show they rely on out-of-territory travellers for a significant portion of their income. 

Successful applicants can get from $2,500 to $25,000. 

Some businesses reliant on out-of-territory tourists have shuttered or moved online during the pandemic, while others have found unique ways to adapt


In April, the territory tabled its latest five-year tourism strategy with ambitious goals to help the sector not only recover from the pandemic but grow in the coming years. The same month, it announced tourists from elsewhere in Canada would be allowed to isolate at remote lodges