The City of Whitehorse and Yukon government will be working together to promote tourism in the territory’s capital city.
Mayor Dan Curtis and Minister of Tourism Mike Nixon signed a memorandum of understanding Monday morning at the Yukon Visitor Information Centre.
The agreement outlines how both governments will work together to promote tourism in Whitehorse. Much of the agreement is about where tourists can go to find information about the capital. Instead of going to city hall, visitors will go to the information centre for pins, parking passes and travel planners.
“It’s going to be a learning curve for sure,” Curtis said of how this will change the responsibilities of city staff. Last year, the city completed an organizational review to see how it could run more efficiently. That review was a big factor in making this agreement, said Curtis.
Visitors were confused by the city’s visitor information centre and the territory’s information centre being so close together, said Curtis.
But just because city staff won’t be promoting Whitehorse like they have in the past doesn’t lessen the city’s commitment to tourism, he said.
“We have not clawed back one cent, one penny, one dime in terms of the promotion and the success of tourism within Whitehorse,” Curtis told the crowd at the press conference.
No jobs in the city have been lost, he told reporters. Money is just being redirected. The former head of tourism recently retired. Another city employee moved into that position, said Curtis. Now, city staff will focus more on promoting large events in Whitehorse, like the Yukon Quest and Sourdough Rendezvous, he said. That’s what the city is best equipped to do.
Before, both city and territorial representatives would travel to the same trade shows and conferences. That wasn’t really effective, he said.
“We’re just too small a populace, and we really have to work together,” said Curtis.
“We’re trying to put out that olive branch. We’re not going to get anywhere if we’re lobbying against each other or competing against each other,” said Curtis.
The territory will also promote Whitehorse on social media websites, in brochures and on the Travel Yukon website. But no new jobs will be added, Nixon told reporters after the conference. This agreement is more about “streamlining” marketing for Whitehorse.
The city is also working with different First Nations to promote their culture. The First Nations add a lot to Whitehorse’s tourism, said Curtis, noting how the activity along the waterfront has increased since the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre was built.
And this agreement will see more efforts put into increasing business and tourism partnerships with Kelowna, B.C., largely because of Air North’s new flights to the city.
City and territorial tourism representatives will also meet at least twice a year to discuss how the partnership is working, the agreement says.
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