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Tourism week recognizes the Yukon industry’s resilience

Tourism Week is nationally held to recognize the industy’s resilience during the pandemic
Neil Hartling, president of the Tourism Industry Association of Yukon, left, said during Tourism Week it’s important to get Canadians to start thinking about travelling to the Yukon. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)

Across the country, Canadians are celebrating Tourism Week, hosted by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, which began May 23 and goes to May 30.

Neil Hartling, the president of the Tourism Industry Association of Yukon (TIA Yukon), said Tourism Week was instigated as a way to “recognize the tremendous opportunities we have in this country.”

“It is also a way to recognize the people who put the sizzle in the steak and animate our tourism destinations,” said Hartling. “It is something we can be proud of as a country and something people can aspire to as a career. There are career opportunities in tourism at all levels.

“Tourism Week is a way to shed some light on that and remind Canadians about the great things we have here.”

Normally a celebration, Tourism Week has changed because of the ongoing pandemic.

“It is a time for a community experiencing hard times, but at this juncture with a distant light at the end of the tunnel,” said Hartling. “Every jurisdiction knows their residents can’t travel internationally so they will be saying visit locally and support local businesses.”

In the Yukon, that messaging will be used. However, Hartling said because the Yukon doesn’t have the population of other jurisdictions local travel doesn’t “move the dial.”

Instead, Hartling said messaging will begin to plant the seed in Canadians’ minds to come visit the Yukon once restrictions ease or they are fully vaccinated.

“It is critical that we get the word out to the rest of the country,” said Hartling. “Right now, that will still make a big difference this year but it is critical that on the path to purchase which contains a very big aspirational component, that we start getting people to start making a movie in their head to visit the Yukon.”

Planting that seed needs to happen quickly because Hartling said travelling to the North comes with more logistics.

“They (tourists) may not come until the winter or the summer next year, but that has to start happening now,” Hartling said. “The timeline for people to act travelling to the North is a longer one. It may be compressed in the time of COVID, but it will take people time to get their act together.”

Hartling echoed statements he made to the News on May 12. He still encourages Yukoners to travel within the territory — not just camping.

“This is a time without Outside tourists where you can have it to yourself,” said Hartling.

Tourism week is aiming to recognize the resilience of the industry through this “unprecedented time”.

To help the industry, the Tourism Industry Association of Canada is calling on Canadians to take the 2021 Tourism Pledge To Travel in Canada.

Contact John Tonin at