Tourism marketing gets major funding boost

The governments of Yukon and Canada have announced $3.6 million for a two-year campaign to get more Canadians to visit the territory.

The governments of Yukon and Canada have announced $3.6 million for a two-year campaign to get more Canadians to visit the territory.

That will include new television commercials promoting to the Yukon, targeted at the domestic market.

“This is the single largest investment in tourism marketing that has ever happened in the history of Yukon government,” said Yukon Tourism Minister Mike Nixon in an interview yesterday.

The money will come half from the Yukon government and half from CanNor, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.

“Canada and the world really are taking notice of Yukon, and it’s truly a great time to invest in tourism in the territory, and it couldn’t be a better time to invest in Yukon’s future.”

The Tourism Industry Association Yukon has been lobbying the governments for the money.

In January the association called for a $5 million investment over two years for a television campaign targeting Canadian audiences.

The Yukon Chamber of Commerce was also pushing for the funding bump.

“It’s, I would say, a huge success,” said Neil Hartling, the tourism association’s chair, in an interview yesterday.

Getting the decision-makers on board took some education, he said.

“Tourism is a challenging business to track. In the parlance of the new commerce MBAs, it’s called an industry without smokestacks. In other words, there isn’t a factory you can point towards.

“Instead, it’s spread through the economy quietly but effectively. It just chugs away, often out of sight but very efficiently. I would say that it took courage for the politicians to do the right thing in this case and put Yukon dollars where they knew it would bring a good return on investment, but not necessarily with the easy optics of a traditional sod-turning ceremony, or whatever goes along with typical funding announcements.”

The money nearly doubles the annual tourism marketing budget for initiatives targeting North America, which currently sits at $1.9 million.

The Yukon government’s total tourism marketing budget, before the funding increase, sat at just under $5 million.

The tourism industry association has a marketing committee that works with the Yukon government to plan and evaluate marketing initiatives.

The Yukon government has hired Outside the Cube to develop and implement the advertising campaign.

The Opposition NDP has lauded the additional marketing money.

“The Yukon NDP has consistently called for such investment over the past year,” said tourism critic Kevin Barr in a news release yesterday.

“We know that this kind of investment pays off and we know how important tourism is to Yukon’s economy. This is a great first step, and we will continue working with tourism industry representatives to support the industry’s steady growth.”

The tourism department tracks border crossings into Yukon from Alaska, arrivals at the Whitehorse airport and visits to visitor information centres on a monthly basis.

It also completes major visitation studies, which capture tourists arriving by any means, about every five to eight years.

According to the 2013 year-end report, border crossings were up eight per cent compared with 2012.

A total of 345,510 visitors entered the Yukon through Alaska last year.

Two per cent of were residents of Canada, and 67 per cent were residents of the United States.

More statistics are available on the department’s website.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

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