The Yukon government will spend an additional $750,000 this year on marketing the territory to potential tourists, Tourism Minister Elaine Taylor announced Tuesday.
But the biggest spending increase simply reinstates money cut from last year’s budget, said the Liberals’ Don Inverarity.
“It’s great that they’re giving back the $500,000 that they took away in the last budget,” he said.
Last year, promotions aimed at North American tourists received $3.6 million, down from $4 million the previous year.
But the budget for 2010-11, which will be announced after the legislature reconvenes next Thursday, will top up a fund aimed at domestic tourists, called Destination Yukon, to $750,000, from $250,000, said Taylor.
The second fund to receive a cash infusion is the Tourism Cooperative Marketing Fund, which matches money spent by Yukon companies on tourism advertising. That fund will receive $700,000, up from $500,000.
Both of these funding increases are “new money” and won’t come at the expense of other line items from the department’s budget, said Taylor.
The territory spends about $5 million annually on promoting tourism.
More than 800 businesses depend on tourism revenue, said Taylor. These businesses employ more than 4,000 workers, she said.
The territory gets approximately $20 for every dollar spent on tourism marketing, according to studies conducted by the department.
“That’s the return on these investments,” said Rod Taylor, chair of the Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon. “This is a revenue stream.”
Yukon’s tourism advertising subsidy is the “most successful co-operative marketing program in the North,” he said. It’s certainly proven popular with local businesses, which, Rod Taylor said, will “tell you it’s the best bloody thing that happened to them.”
The fund has been fully tapped for the past three years.
Because America has been hit far worst than Canada by the worldwide recession, Yukon has shifted its North American marketing focus from the United States to the domestic market.
The territory’s return on tourism investment is largely calculated through interviews conducted with visitors to determine how much they spent, said Pierre Germain, Yukon’s director of tourism.
Only visitors who say advertisements and other marketing efforts influenced their decision to make the trip are included in the count. The cost of marketing is then subtracted to calculate the return.
Another portion of the return on investment is calculated by looking at travel articles written by writers and calculating how much it would have cost to take out advertisements of equivalent size in the same publications. This allowed, for example, $210,000 spent on media junkets in 2006-7 to be credited as $1.3 million worth in advertising.
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