The Government of Canada announced a $786,000 investment Wednesday afternoon to upgrade three Kivalliq hotels and to map the Thule sod houses archeological sites near Chesterfield Inlet.
The Co-op hotels in Rankin Inlet, Whale Cove and Chesterfield Inlet will be modernized and expanded to “industry standards,” according to a government press release. Ottawa is contributing $250,000 to each hotel while Arctic Co-operatives is spending $4.25 million to enhance the three buildings.
The hotels are described as “major employers,” providing a combined 56 jobs.
The development of the Thule sod houses, or qammaqs, will serve as a cultural tourism attraction. The project will involve consulting elders and youth on interpretative signage, as well as identifying options to attract visitors to the site.
“The development of an Inuit archaeological site provides the hamlet with new tourism and related business opportunities,” the government stated in its news release, adding that there is a growing focus on Indigenous tourism that offers visitors a unique experience.
“In partnership with Indigenous communities, our government is committed to the long-term prosperity of the North. By expanding the tourism industry and supporting Indigenous owned businesses, we are growing the region’s economy and creating opportunities in a sector that will continue to create jobs,” said federal Tourism Minister Melanie Joly, who announced the funding in Rankin Inlet.
Jimmy Krako, deputy mayor of Chesterfield Inlet, added, “The mapping of these important historical sites will help to preserve Chesterfield Inlet’s rich history for generations to come as well as it will work to enhance and preserve the Inuit culture, and the improvements to the Pitsuilak Co-op Retail and Hotel is a welcome change.”
Tourism adds $300 million to Nunvut’s economy and generates 2,500 jobs annually, according to the government.