Tourism matters in Yukon

Elaine Taylor, MLA for Whitehorse West

As submitted to the Whitehorse Star on Friday, April 24th, 2015
by Elaine Taylor, Minister of Tourism & Culture

Along with industry partners and representatives from around the territory and beyond, I was pleased to attend the very successful Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon 2015 spring conference in Dawson City. The agenda covered topics including everything from cultural tourism, wildlife viewing and culinary experiences, to online marketing and unleashing Yukon’s full potential.

The Yukon government works in partnership with the private and public sectors and non-government organizations to continue to grow Yukon’s tourism sector. This industry accounts for $250 million in gross revenue for business in the territory while more than four per cent of Yukon’s GDP is generated by the tourism industry.

We recognize the importance of this industry to Yukon’s economy, and we are increasing our investment to reflect that. This year’s tourism budget will see an increase of $2 million, primarily in support of the Yukon Now marketing initiative, Yukon’s largest ever investment in the Canadian market.

Television advertising is a major component of Yukon Now, and it is already delivering some positive results. A commercial launched earlier this year has been seen by an estimated 30 million viewers across Canada, in addition to more than 65,000 views on YouTube. In the first month after the commercial was launched, there were more than 22,000 visits to the Travel Yukon website—almost double the website traffic from the previous February.

Yukon’s new television commercials mark a significant milestone in the ongoing evolution of tourism marketing in the territory. This particular marketing effort is helping us maximize opportunities for increased visitation and revenues for Yukon tourism businesses.

As was shared at the recent conference in Dawson, some local tourism operators have already reported an increase in bookings, with some clients crediting the new Yukon commercial for their decision to visit the territory.

The Digital Storytelling Project has a similar purpose – to raise awareness of Yukon as a year-round travel destination by using social media such as Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr and Twitter to reach target audiences. The project has called on Yukon content creators to submit their ideas for a series of videos that showcase Yukon as a great place to visit. A number of Yukon videographers were selected and they each produced a series of three webisodes showcasing our territory from a Yukoner’s perspective and promoting it as a travel destination. These projects, along with the commercials, are targeted toward the Canadian tourism market, which has seen a steady increase in Yukon in recent years.

Tourism contributes significantly not only to Yukon’s economy but to the overall well-being and quality of life for Yukoners. I would like to recognise the incredible work by our industry partners and various government departments, much of it done behind the scenes. By working together, we are achieving positive results and contributing to Yukon’s success as the best place to visit, work, live and raise a family.