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Old 07-11-2011, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC
6 posts, read 8,234 times
Reputation: 13

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First of all, Hi! I've been trolling the boards at city-data for way too long not to actually take part in any discussions, so I figured I'd launch my membership here with an informal survey of sorts.

A longtime friend of mine are currently contemplating a long term plan to establish a small adventure tourism/expedition business in the Northern U.S. (likely based in the Northern midwest or west) that would include a sector that caters to those with a mind for road tripping to the more remote areas of Canada (via James Bay Road, Trans-Taiga, Dempster Highway, Mackenzie Highway, Trans-Labrador/QC 389). A few questions for the like-minded here...

1) How would a "bus" or van style service work for ferrying tourists across the border - I know there are buses that do such things - what is to be expected at the border? Has anyone taken such a bus on here? What did the company do for pre-clearance. I know of a touring bus company that shuttles from PEI to Boston and back that pre-clears passengers. Just curious about the personal experience with that from a tourist's POV.

2) Our hope is that there are people that want to see the remote parts of Canada but don't have the means to take it on themselves or want the comfort of doing so without taking on the risks of going it alone. Do people really want to go up there or am I just fooling myself?

3) Since it's usually about $2,000 per person just to fly to Iqaluit from the U.S. I'm curious about what is the easiest way to get to Nunavut territory without flying? I've heard of guides being able to take people to Nunavut islands from Chisasibi and Fort George, QC. Has anyone attempted this? I imagine there has to be a cheaper alternative for people who just want to say they've stepped foot on Nunavut land. I know of ice roads - but how about in the summers?

Obviously this all includes very careful consideration. I don't want to jump into any of this recklessly. I've traveled some of this area before on personal expeditions and know just how tough that can be. I'd love to keep costs (for me and the traveler) relatively low, but fear that would be quite tough to do, at least at first. If we were to include one or a few of these routes on our itineraries outfit would resemble more of an "expedition team" at first I would imagine (i.e. a means of transport for a nature photographer, cartographers, geophysicists and the like), as road trips like these aren't for the faint-hearted or casual. I'm curious as to your honest opinion of this plan (bad or good) and any input is welcome. Hope to generate some good conversation about this in general.
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Old 07-11-2011, 09:40 AM
 
Location: CFL
903 posts, read 2,241,387 times
Reputation: 979
When a bus or train crosses the border it becomes the property of the border guards while they walk through and check each passenger. Anyone that needs further scrutiny is taken off with their baggage and into the office for secondary inspection and the train/bus goes on without them. You can ask passengers to present a passport prior to boarding to ensure they have them in their possession. Not sure about "pre-clearance"
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Old 07-11-2011, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC
6 posts, read 8,234 times
Reputation: 13
I imagine then that "hassle-free", "let us take care of everything" promises of the border crossing buses I've seen advertised must be the fact that the border patrol assumes the bus and doesn't require passengers to de-board (unless necessary) in the inspection. That obviously makes sense then. I also may be confusing the bus companies guarantee of pre-clearance for being on their end - they pre-clear as much as they can (however they can) to assure they aren't harboring some trouble-makers.
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:02 AM
 
1,723 posts, read 5,140,417 times
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You can drive to Chisasibi and take a canoe to the nearest island which is part of Nunavut territory (everything in the James Bay is).

I would think anyone who is interested in this type of excursion is likely to have no problem with making Toronto, Ottawa, or Montreal their point of departure. I think basing the business in the U.S. is doomed to failure since you will have to get insurance in both countries, deal with the border mess, etc.... this sounds like a bad business plan.
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Hougary, Texberta
8,593 posts, read 11,074,156 times
Reputation: 10301
I think you probably need to get a better grasp on the distances you're talking about here.

We are talking about an area with under 200,000 people that is larger than the continental United States. To drive from the border to the Arctic is in the neighbourhood of 30 hours driving time. That's just to get to 60, never mind actually get anywhere. There is little to nothing in amenities, never mind fuel, rest areas, and repair facilities.

While there may be a (very) limited demand, the up front costs would be staggering, and to turn a profit near impossible.
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:15 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC
6 posts, read 8,234 times
Reputation: 13
Well the business would be based on mostly American travel to less traveled and unique areas of our country - but offer packages to Canada - which, yes, seems quite rare here to be honest and probably for good reason.

The more and more I've researched this option it seems that offering such a package would essentially involve high costs to all involved. That said - I don't want to shelve it just because of that - if it's still feasible in meeting demand for the cost. It's always been somewhat of a dream for me to be able to offer travel to the more remote parts of Canada and hope to package an itinerary or two to test the waters. I've given myself 1.5-2 years to really plot this particular offering out - with a possible dry run next summer with a group of us.
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Old 07-11-2011, 11:25 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC
6 posts, read 8,234 times
Reputation: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyyc View Post
I think you probably need to get a better grasp on the distances you're talking about here.

We are talking about an area with under 200,000 people that is larger than the continental United States. To drive from the border to the Arctic is in the neighbourhood of 30 hours driving time. That's just to get to 60, never mind actually get anywhere. There is little to nothing in amenities, never mind fuel, rest areas, and repair facilities.

While there may be a (very) limited demand, the up front costs would be staggering, and to turn a profit near impossible.
Oh, I know it would involve the longest of long drives - but thats essentially the crowd we'd have to cater to anyway, people that are up for that and understand the commitment in going all the way out there. I realize the cost of doing something like this could put this more in line as service to those that need to go (whether for business, visit family) rather than a true travel service and be quite limited (once or twice a year). Don't get me wrong, I'm not really interested in establishing a Greyhound like service to places like Inuvik or Labrador City. This would definitely be a more specialized offering.
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