Building our brand, creating jobs and growing capacity

Elaine Taylor, MLA for Whitehorse WestAs submitted to the Whitehorse Star on Friday, October 23, 2015
by Elaine Taylor, Minister of Tourism and Culture

On Wednesday evening, I was honoured to join the cast, crew and many Yukon stakeholders in the unveiling of five new Yukon tourism television commercials.

The commercials are a key part of Yukon Now, a $3.6 million territorial/federal investment, the single largest investment ever made in Yukon tourism marketing.

Investing in this area is key in helping build further awareness of Yukon as a travel destination and generating revenue for Yukon businesses. Making Canadians aware of Yukon as a place to travel is the first step in encouraging them to make the decision to visit. This is the primary objective of Yukon Now.

The commercials are a direct response to industry and the vision shared by Yukon’s tourism industry to see greater investment in television marketing in a growing domestic market. Specifically, the initiative means that made-in-Yukon television commercials will proudly show the beauty, majesty, history and rich culture Yukon has to offer visitors from Canada and beyond.

Yukoners across the territory will have an opportunity to view this exciting suite of tourism commercials during community visits in November.

Last February, the Yukon Now marketing program was launched with the airing of our first made-in-Yukon commercial. The ad, celebrating the beauty of the northern lights, aired over 500 times on 24 different conventional and specialty channels, and was seen over 33 million times.

Following the launch, traffic to the Travel Yukon website nearly doubled in February as compared to the same month last year. Our territory also enjoyed a corresponding increase in the number of visitors in February, March and April.

In the coming year, this and the remaining five new commercials will be broadcast to millions of Canadians on conventional and specialty TV channels across the country. The commercials, in their entirety, feature Yukon’s history, culture and authentic Yukon stories, two set in our winter season and four in the summer.

We’re very proud of the fact that Yukon Now has and continues to involve Yukoners in many ways, more than any other marketing program in the past, representing the hard work of many stakeholders and partners.

More than 160 talented Yukoners made up the vast majority of the production crew and the cast. Over 45 local business were involved and 75 per cent of the total budget for making the commercials was spent here in Yukon.

The production of the six commercials created invaluable training and employment opportunities within Yukon’s film and sound industry, making this perhaps the biggest legacy of all.

I want to thank all of the many Yukoners involved in every stage of these commercials.I would like to acknowledge the Tourism Industry Association of Yukon and the Yukon Chamber of Commerce for championing this important initiative. My thanks also goes to our stakeholders for their vital input and feedback, including the Yukon First Nations Culture & Tourism Association, Wilderness Tourism Association of Yukon, the Klondike Visitors Association, the Tourism Marketing Committee, the Screen Production Yukon Association and the Yukon Film Society. And finally, I want to express my appreciation for the hard work and creativity shown by all in every stage of the production.

In addition to the investment in commercials within the Yukon Now marketing campaign is the award-winning digital storytelling and user-generated content initiatives. Tourism Yukon and our marketing agency, Outside the Cube, recently won a national award of excellence for the most innovative public relations campaign for both. The digital storytelling project uses locally-produced short videos to convey Yukon stories while the user-generated content project features photographs, videos and written content from Yukoners and visitors showcasing their Yukon experiences.

Yukon Now is complemented by a strategically-focused overseas component which has included trade missions to Japan, China, Britain and German-speaking Europe in the past few years. As well, by partnering with the Association franco-yukonnaise (L’AFY), we are strengthening relationships with tour operators in France. AFY has maintained a presence at key travel trade shows and this past summer Tourism Yukon hosted French tour product managers here.

Yukon’s tourism industry as a whole is filled with dedicated and passionate people who are very excited to share Yukon with the rest of the country and indeed the rest of the world. By working together, we are achieving positive results and contributing to Yukon’s success as the best place to visit, live and raise a family.