Holland America says it has no plans to cut back trips to the Yukon, even though the company is trying to sell its last hotel in Whitehorse.
The Westmark Whitehorse, with its 180 rooms, is in the process of being sold to Holloway Lodging, which already owns Whitehorse’s Days Inn.
The deal isn’t finalized yet, but if everything goes as planned Holloway should take over at the end of March.
Holland America spokesperson Erik Elvejord said the company will continue to provide marketing support to the Westmark Whitehorse – which will keep its name – but will have no other operational ties.
This year Holland America is offering nearly 250 trips that include the Yukon. There are similar plans for 2017 and onward, Elvejord said.
Trips into the territory are part of what makes Holland America different from other similar companies.
“We’re the company that uses the Yukon. We go to the Yukon in addition to Denali, and so it’s a big deal for us and a big marketing point. When we’re at trade shows, when we’re at different functions, it’s regularly part of our discussions,” he said.
Tourists visiting Whitehorse with Holland America will still stay at the Westmark, even after Holland America gives up ownership.
Holland America still owns hotels in Dawson City and Skagway.
The company used to have a much larger presence in the territory. It used to operate the Yukon Queen II riverboat between Dawson City and Eagle, Alaska, but in 2012 the company decided to pull the boat out of operation, in part because of a lengthy environmental assessment review.
Also in 2012, Westmark sold the Klondike Inn, which became a Ramada. The property was sold again in 2015, this time to Holloway, to become a Days Inn.
The Beaver Creek Westmark was closed in 2013.
Michael Rapps, chairman of Holloway Lodging, said it made sense to increase the company’s presence in Whitehorse by buying a second hotel.
“It’s a very nice, attractive market, and this complements the portfolio of us, and it also adds some economy of scale within the Whitehorse market.”
Holloway Lodging has hotels in northern Canada, including in Yellowknife.
“It adds diversification to our portfolio,” Rapps said.
“We have quite a bit of exposure to markets in Alberta, which are subject to oil and gas prices, markets in northern Ontario, which are subject to commodity prices, and these provide a different type of exposure more to tourism activity and things of that nature.”
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