The final set of questions in the interview asked residents to speculate about the future of tourism in Cambridge Bay. Forty per cent of respondents recognized that tourism will “take on its own momentum” and “will be important to Cambridge Bay” in the future because “we are getting known, especially for good fishing”. An additional 8 people projected that the community will likely host more cruise ships in the future given “the way the ice is”. Modest increases in Northwest Passage bound yachts wintering over in the community were predicted by one resident. Another respondent predicted increases in the number of conference and business travellers as the community develops as a regional centre for the Kitikmeot Region.
Nine people identified climate change as the most important issue facing the future development of tourism in Cambridge Bay. Although one respondent noted that “the ice won’t be gone just yet” another commented that “changing ice conditions will make it easier for cruise ships and yachts to get through the Northwest Passage”. Other residents noted that it would be a problem for sports hunting if the “US placed polar bears on the Endangered Species Act” despite that “polar bears aren’t on the decline in this area”.
A variety of challenges to this anticipated growth was identified by residents including the need to: develop the Port for Northwest Passage travellers (1 person); pave the runway to help reduce air travel costs (1 person) and; have more appropriate facilities (1 person) such as a more varied range of accommodation choices (1 person), souvenir shops (1 person) and entertainment options (1 person). Other challenges reported were: “the need to tidy up the mess out there” (1 person); to be better organized with consistently good service (2 residents); to convince people to visit in the winter (1 person); to encourage “non-elite visitors” (1 person), develop good business partnerships locally (1 person) and to communicate effectively to visitors “what life is like up here” (4 residents). How would you respond to these statements? Are there other issues that you think are important?