Tourist season nears
Cournoyea says Japanese market largely untapped

Glen Korstrom
Northern News Services

INUVIK (May 07/99) - Though Americans, Canadians and Germans still account for most of Inuvik's tourist market, Japanese tourism is picking up, according to tourism officer John Cournoyea.

"We don't have the facilities that Yellowknife does but we're working toward it," he said.

Cournoyea says part of cracking the Japanese market will be to have more Japanese visitors arrive and enjoy their stay.

Recent tourist promotion efforts have focused on attracting Austrian, Swiss and German tourists as far as the European market goes, said Cournoyea.

Americans are still a niche market because there is road access to Alaska.

The tourist season has yet to officially start and RWED has yet to hire workers to operate the Western Arctic Visitors' Centre, which is set to open in mid-May.

Yoko Iino joined friends Chizuru Enomoto and Chitose Kubo on a recent visit to Inuvik.

All work at Raven Tours in Yellowknife and mix with many Japanese-speaking tourists to the North.

Still, their trip to Inuvik was less to find out more about the Beaufort Delta to pass on to other prospective tourists but rather a vacation in its own right.

"Everybody told me Inuvik was small but I was still surprised," says Iino, who is originally from Tokyo.

"We plan to visit Tuktoyaktuk and drive along the Dempster Highway."