Arctic Motorcycle Adventures won’t run in 2022, owner says

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Some NWT tourism operators entering a third year of uncertainty are wondering if it is worth it. Lawrence Neyando has decided for now, the answer is no.

When two couples canceled their reservations for 2022 earlier this week, Neyando concluded that it was no use running his business, Arctic Motorcycle Adventures, with no certainty as to the year ahead.

“It’s hard to make plans when you don’t know what’s going on,” he told Cabin Radio on Thursday.

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“I had booked about three-quarters of my tours for 2022, but since the government announced it was not opening pleasure travel and with this new variant coming out, a lot of them have started to cancel.

“I have no answers. I have clients who are looking for updates and I don’t have any.

Neyando said he has now canceled all tours planned for this coming year. His Inuvik-based company guides people on motorcycle adventures along the Dempster and Inuvik-Tuk highways, but has barely been able to operate since the first pandemic restrictions fell in early 2020.

Not all businesses face the same problems. Neyando described his frustration seeing competitors, based elsewhere, escorting people on tours to the Northwest Territories border last summer as the Yukon and southern provinces opened up.

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“I’m a two hour drive away and there’s nothing I can do. It was really frustrating, ”said Neyando, who was born and raised in Fort McPherson.

” It’s my domain. When these companies come in and do this – and they plan to do it again this summer – they are more established in my garden than I am.

Meanwhile, Neyando was selling equipment to raise funds. He had to sell two of the company’s six bikes at the start of the pandemic to make ends meet, he said, when annual insurance costs are $ 10,000 and even a business license can cost. $ 1,500 in a community like Tuktoyaktuk.

“I’m still not fully recovered from the first stop, you know?” ” he said.

Merch is a success

Neyando said he doesn’t fully blame the territorial and federal governments – which “are trying to do their part” to keep people safe – but wishes tourism had been handled differently.

The grants it was approved for were “not enough” to keep the business going, he said, and he felt that the travel exemptions granted for remote lodges – where tourists can isolate themselves away from communities – should also have been made available to his company. .

“It’s no different than asking clients to fly to Whitehorse, get them on my motorbike on the highway, get them to a hotel, and then fly away,” a- he declared.

“They could have approached businesses individually and met their needs rather than just shutting them down completely.

“They killed the industry. It will be difficult to rebuild. “

Laurent Neyando
Lawrence Neyando, seen in a submitted photo, is the owner of Arctic Motorcycle Adventures.

The silver lining? Neyando’s Arctic Motorcycle Adventures brand has proven itself. The clothing side of his business continues to receive orders from as far away as the United States.

“Since the start of the pandemic, I have worked hard to push the merch to pay the website bill, the monthly bills, the loan,” he said.

“The clothing side has taken off. It’s busy, so I’m going to continue with that.

“But I was exhausted pushing the merch and finding out how I was going to plan the 2022 tours without really knowing if we were going to be open. So I’m going to pull the plug and enjoy next summer with my family.

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