Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit January 23, 2013 - 9:21 am

Iqaluit economic committee touts conferences, film production

City looks at economic development meeting in March

SAMANTHA DAWSON

With some improvements, Iqaluit has the potential to host more business meetings, conferences, and film events, the city council heard Jan. 22 after Coun. Mark Morrissey presented a report from the city’s economic development committee.

He recommended more country food markets, a new website for community businesses and a “visit Iqaluit” video and webpage “attracting and convincing people to visit the city.”

“We’re going to bring together all the economic development organizations in the city to look at issues and challenges and how to work together more effectively,” Morrissey said.

That meeting is planned for two days during the first week of March.

“It will also allow the city to gather information and key stakeholders which will be incorporated into the plan,” he said.

At a meeting in December, one of the priorities identified by the committee was making Iqaluit a little more attractive to visitors and tourists.

Morrissey said it was important to factor that into the budget “but before we make any determination on where that money would go we felt it was important to bring in a couple of people who could help in that field.”

Colleen Dupuis, the CEO of Nunavut Tourism, met with the city’s economic development committee where she made a presentation on the 2011 Nunavut Exit Survey.

“So this committee could get an idea of who was visiting, why they were coming, where they were from,” Morrissey said.

That survey shows Iqaluit’s average visitor is a well-to-do, well-educated man between 40 and 65, who’s travelling alone for business and stays less than a week in the territory.

A Canadian, he’s probably from Ontario, British Columbia,  Alberta, Quebec or Nunavut.

To the end, Morrissey said Iqaluit has “tremendous” potential as a destination for business meetings, conferences and film production.

“[That] was something surprising to us. We’re not just talking movies but commercials, television shows, anything that requires what we seem to have lots of, ice, cold, barren landscapes, rocks,” he said.

The trick then, is finding ways to get people to travel to Iqaluit.

“Her indication was that the return on investment for this is very large and that it typically doesn’t cost a whole lot to convince someone to come here,” Morrissey said.

A small investment into some of these initiatives will often go a long way, he said, adding that one thing the economic development committee and Dupuis agreed on was that there needs to be a solid schedule of events well ahead of time, such as the dates for Toonik Tyme.

“These types of festivals and events are a major draw for visitors, but currently they get very little if any notice on when they are happening, sometimes it’s only a couple of weeks,” Morrissey said of Dupuis’ presentation to the committee.

A balance should be struck for use of the city’s Arctic Winter Games arena turf, of when to use it for other events outside of recreation.

Nunavut Tourism has an “image bank” full of images from around the territory to use for promotion, but they have very few images and footage from Iqaluit.

Councillor Joanasie Akumalik asked if the committee talked about mining development at previous meetings.

Morrissey replied that the economic development committee does have plans to discuss mining in the future.

 

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