Royals cost Yukon $429,000

The Yukon government released the cost for September’s royal visit on Jan. 12, detailing expenses totalling more than $457,000.

The Yukon government released the cost for September’s royal visit on Jan. 12, detailing expenses totalling more than $457,000.

Of that, the Yukon ended up paying $429,000 thanks to a cost-sharing agreement with the federal government.

A music showcase put on for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was the single most expensive item at $122,000.

The Department of Tourism and Culture told the News the costs broke down as follows: $45,500 for the production team, $43,000 for performer fees, $30,600 for sound and lighting, and $2,500 for catering.

Seven Yukon bands performed during the 45-minute show.

The royal couple toured Whitehorse and Carcross on Sept. 27 and 28. They had a chance to meet Yukoners who crowded Main Street during a street festival. They also visited the MacBride Museum where they telegraphed a tweet, before moving on to Carcross.

There, the Carcross/Tagish First Nation put together a welcoming ceremony with local children dancing.

William and Kate then went to Montana Mountain where they met youth in the Singletrack To Success program.

The Yukon benefited from media coverage of the visit, said the Yukon government’s director of tourism, Pierre Germain.

“The cost of hosting the royal visit was far less than the media coverage if we had to pay for it on our own,” he said.

From USA Today to Vanity Fair, People Magazine and Hello Canada, dozens of high-profile media outlets covered the Yukon royal tour.

The department hasn’t done a detailed cost analysis to estimate how much it would have cost to get the same coverage by placing ads and paying travel writers to come to the territory.

But looking at the list of publications that wrote about the royal couple, Germain said there is no doubt it would have cost “significantly more.”

A full-page colour ad in People Magazine costs more than $300,000 and Vanity Fair charges about $230,000, according to their rate cards.

There were around 100 journalists accredited for the Yukon part of the visit, according to the department.

To put it in context, the tourism department spends about $6 million per year on marketing. That’s spent on advertising in key markets but also on inviting travel writers to the territory.

Coverage in magazines is seen as more credible than ads by readers, Germain said.

From 2004 to 2012, the Yukon saw a three per cent annual growth rate in tourist numbers.

A new visitation study will be done next year, Germain said, that will be able to say precisely how much of an impact the tour had.

The online impact was sizable and immediate, government data show.

“For all of our social media, the analytics went through the roof during the time they were here,” said Jennifer Gehmair, the tourism department director of communications.

“The value in terms of the publication and media exposure was incredible.”

There were also more concrete and direct impacts for Yukon businesses.

Yukon goldsmith Shelley MacDonald, who made a pair of earrings Kate wore during the second day of the visit, told the News she’s had 1,500 orders since September 2016.

“Orders are still coming in and not slowing down,” she said.

The Yukon didn’t have to pay for the bulk of the security costs, which the RCMP took care of. About 120 Yukon government employees worked on the tour.

Contact Pierre Chauvin at pierre.chauvin@yukon-news.com

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