Rang Pillai, Minister of Tourism and Culture, speaks at the Great Yukon Summer campaign press conference on May 27. (John Tonin/Yukon News)

Rang Pillai, Minister of Tourism and Culture, speaks at the Great Yukon Summer campaign press conference on May 27. (John Tonin/Yukon News)

The Great Yukon Summer campaign announced during Tourism Week

Starting June 4, Yukoners can receive a 25 per cent rebate on tourism packages valued at $250

On May 27 at the Yukon Visitor Centre, Tourism Minister Ranj Pillai announced The Great Yukon Summer — just in time for Tourism Week.

“As our government committed to during our election, we are launching the Great Yukon Summer 2021 campaign,” said Pillai. “This campaign will encourage and inspire Yukon residents to travel safely in Yukon and enjoy all our territory has to offer.”

Travelling within Yukon, Pillai said, “will help generate much-needed revenue for Yukon businesses in the travel and hospitality industries, museums and cultural sites which have all been hard-hit by the impacts of COVID-19.”

There are three parts to The Great Yukon Summer initiative: a travel rebate, an events fund and a marketing fund.

Great Yukon Summer Travel Rebate Program

The program launching June 4 is a 25 per cent rebate for packaged tourism experiences, starting at $250, as well as flights within the territory between June 4 and Sept. 30, said Pillai.

“Yukoners pay upfront, then submit a simple application with receipts and a declaration of proof of residency after the trip occurs for the rebate,” said Pillai. “Applications will be accepted until Oct. 31.”

Pillai said this program thanks Yukoners for what they’ve done in “keeping each other and the territory safe.”

It is a way for Yukoners to step up as well, he said, because the tourism industry has gone through so much through the pandemic.

Lastly, Pillai said the rebate program will hopefully foster more Yukon boosters.

“These experiences are going to ensure that Yukoners can have that experience and be ambassadors for this industry as we bounce back and grow,” he said.

The rebates go into effect just over a week after the announcement, and Pillai said that will put pressure on the industry.

“Folks in the industry have produced packages before, but we are asking a lot. I would have loved to been able to support the department, but we’ve put a lot on tourism and culture,” said Pillai.

“They’ve responded in a fantastic way. Is it exactly the timeline I’d like to see for operators? No.”

Details can be found online.

On Yukon Time: Great Yukon Summer Edition

In total, $500,000 is now available for festivals, events and other summer activities across the Yukon. The fund is not limited to existing events.

“New events are not limited to arts and cultural content but can be a wider range of activities that encourage Yukon travel and were bringing together individuals to appreciate and enjoy the diversity of the territory,” said Pillai.

The funds will be distributed through two channels. First, $250,000 will be available for organizers of events already getting funds – either through the Arts Fund or the Arts Operating Fund.

“The top-up funding will help the organizers of existing events amplify and expand their existing scope or size,” said Pillai.

The other $250,000 will be available through the On Yukon Time: Great Yukon Summer Edition funding program.

Applications for public events planned in the Yukon between June 21 and September 30 are now being accepted.

“The deadline to apply to this fund is June 18,” said Pillai. “This can include brand new events or events already planned.”

Campaign development program for Yukon businesses

Tourism businesses and operators who provided a rebate package are eligible to receive up to $2,000 toward advertising from a Yukon marketing professional or publication to promote their package.

Contact John Tonin at john.tonin@yukon-news.com