As executive director of the Wilderness Tourism Association of the Yukon, I would like to congratulate the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon on an informative and entertaining annual general meeting and spring conference.
Each sector was vibrantly represented as we shared, learned and laughed our way into a new and exciting year. As a special treat, the participants of the conference visited the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations’ Cultural Centre. Although the centre is still in its last stages of renovations, we were enthusiastically welcomed by the community and were even given the chance to compete in the hand games tournament. It was a wonderful experience and I have no doubt that the new centre will provide valuable cultural knowledge to our territory’s visitors and residents.
One aspect of the conference that I found particularly interesting was the tourism and resource extraction panel. Representatives from Tourism Smithers, Tourism Fort St. John and Tourism Yellowknife spoke about their cities’ various experiences with finding a balance between tourism and resource extraction. Many of us, myself included, can sometimes view the extraction industry at complete odds with tourism – especially tourism that relies on an untouched wilderness. However, this panel illustrated that the key to economic growth as well as the development of new and innovative industry potential is to have an open and supportive dialogue between industries. It is only by working together that genuine progress, for everyone, can be made.
We were honoured to be joined by the Tourism Minister Mike Nixon, Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Brad Cathers, Environment and Economic Development Minister Currie Dixon and deputy premier Elaine Taylor as well as NDP Leader Liz Hanson and Mount Lorne MLA Kevin Barr.
The presence of the different facets of the Yukon government demonstrated that the sustainable futures of our tourism businesses continues to remain a priority. We saw this with the Yukon government’s choice to put off oil and gas exploration rights in the Whitehorse Trough. It is clear to me that the government has listened to the Yukon people, in this respect, and truly considered the long-term impact that this exploration would have had on the tourism industry. I applaud this decision and feel grateful to live in a community where I can share my ideas and concerns with a visible and engaged government.
After two days at the spring conference, networking and exchanging ideas, I feel confident that the tourism industry has a solid plan. I thank the whole TIAY team for all their hard work and look forward to the coming year.