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‘Great Yukon Summer Freeze’ to extend tourism discounts into winter

Rebates on tour packages, support for hotels, new liquor pricing all aimed to help tourism sector.
Minister of Tourism and Culture Ranj Pillai discusses ongoing support for the Yukon’s tourism industry, which is being called the Great Yukon Summer Freeze, at the Yukon Visitor Information Centre on Friday Sept. 24. (Jim Elliot/Yukon News)

The assistance for the tourism and accommodation sectors which made up the “Great Yukon Summer” initiative will be continuing right through the coming winter.

Speaking from a podium labeled “The Great Yukon Summer Freeze” on Sept. 24, Yukon Minister of Tourism and Culture Ranj Pillai detailed what tourism assistance programs would be returning for the colder months.

“While border restrictions have been lifted, travel is still far from returning to normal. And it is clear that this year’s winter tourism season will be very difficult for tourism operators,” he said. 

Because of the slow recovery, Pillai said supplement programs for the tourism sector set to end in late September, will be extended with more support for tourism businesses available from Oct. 1 until March 31, 2022.

He said 542 businesses had benefitted from the program so far with a total investment of $10.5 million. The supplement providing up to $400 per room each month helping accommodation businesses break even will continue. The non-accommodation supplement provides businesses that rely on visitors up to $60,000 to cover expenses.

The Yukon Liquor Corporation is also set to implement long-term changes to pricing on Oct. 1. He said this will result in wholesale discounts of 17 per cent for large producers and 9 per cent for small producers. He said a small producer rebate is also being created giving money back to liquor licensees that sell the small-batch products.

The travel rebate program introduced over the summer, which discounted some tourism packages 25 per cent, is also being extended through March of 2022. Pillai said about 1,400 Yukoners purchased Great Yukon Summer packages, spending more than a million dollars with local tourism businesses.

Winter tourism packages will come available Nov. 1 and the deadline to submit rebates for the summer packages has been pushed back to Nov. 30.

Pillai said that although the funding for community events that came as part of the original great Yukon Summer package is being discontinued, the government was satisfied with the results and the approximately 54 events that were funded.

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Jim Elliot

About the Author: Jim Elliot

I’m a B.C. transplant here in Whitehorse at The News telling stories about the Yukon's people, environment, and culture.
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