Premier Darrell Pasloski is in Europe this week touting the Yukon as a tourist destination.
He is joined by Tourism Minister Mike Nixon and 17 delegates representing 14 Yukon organizations.
The group will visit Hannover and Frankfurt in Germany and London, England, over the nine-day trip.
“Truly it’s going to help us build our already-strong relationship with German-speaking Europe, as well as a newer relationship with the United Kingdom,” said Nixon in an interview Monday.
Germany and the U.K. are the first and third overseas markets for Yukon tourism, he said. Together they bring in $13 million annually.
Delegates represent tour operators like Holland America Line and CanaDream RV Rentals, hotels, and industry organizations like the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon.
They were each responsible for paying for their way, but could apply to the Yukon government for partial funding, said Nixon.
One of the highlights of the trip will be visiting the Yukon Gold Rush Days at the Hannover Zoo, he said.
A few years ago, the zoo was planning an expansion, and looked to the Yukon to help them create the Yukon Bay, a new themed section of the park.
It includes, for example, replicas of historic Yukon buildings, polar bears, caribou, timber wolves, and, curiously, penguins.
Their presence is explained by a shipwreck replica at the Yukon Bay, and a story that goes along with it about how the penguins had stowed away on board, said Nixon.
He attended last year’s Yukon Gold Rush Days at the zoo, an event that attracted more than 27,000 visitors, he said.
The timing is right for a trade mission to Europe, said Nixon.
“Their economy over there still continues to steadily recover from the global economic downturn, so it’s a good time for us to really increase our profile.”
Many European tourists are drawn to the Yukon’s wide open spaces and wilderness adventure opportunities.
If asked during the trip about the fate of the Peel watershed, Nixon said he would tell the person doing the asking that he would get back to them.
“Getting them tied up into a political conversation isn’t something that I’m keen to do. I’m over there flying the Yukon flag loud and proud, and I want to tell people how great of a place this is, and encouraging as many of them to come over here and spend their money and visit the territory.”
Contact Jacqueline Ronson at