Commercials promoting the Yukon will continue to appear on TV screens in key Canadian tourism markets for at least the next three years.
The Department of Tourism and Culture announced yesterday that it was earmarking $900,000 a year for the next three years to keep the Yukon Now marketing campaign going.
The majority of the campaign is focused on six TV commercials, each encouraging visitors to “come to my Yukon.” Two of the commercials show Yukoners doing winter activities and four promote the summer.
This month, the four summer commercials aired nationally on 11 conventional channels including CTV, Global and CBC, and on 18 specialty channels including BBC Canada, the Discovery Channel and National Geographic Canada.
They’ve aired more than 1,000 times with an estimated 100 million views, according to the department.
The summer commercials will finish airing this month, and will be aired again starting in February 2017. The winter commercials will go back into circulation this September.
“Everybody knows that advertising only works when it’s consistently applied,” said Rich Thompson, chair of the Yukon Chamber of Commerce.
“Repetition, frequency, these are important concepts in advertising and a two-year program does something, a five-year program does a lot more.”
Tourism director Pierre Germain said the commercials are aimed at Canadians. They air in key markets in Vancouver, Calgary Edmonton and Toronto.
Now is a good time to encourage Canadians to visit the Yukon, he said. In 2017, celebrations are planned for both Canada’s 150th birthday and the 75th anniversary of the Alaska Highway. That, combined with the low Canadian dollar, means Canadians are likely to want to “stay home and want to see their own backyard,” he said.
“So we think we can take advantage of that by letting them know that the Yukon exists and welcoming them to come to my Yukon.”
The commercials were launched in February 2015. The year before, the Yukon government and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency gave $3.6 million dollars to market the Yukon to visitors.
At the time it was the largest investment ever made in Yukon tourism.
From Feb. 1 to March 22 of this year there were more than 74,000 visits to the Travel Yukon website, which is about a five per cent increase over the same period in 2015, said tourism minister Elaine Taylor.
“With the first two years of Yukon Now showing promising results we are really keen to build on this momentum,” she said.
Thompson said the territory has been suffering from a few years of recession, adding there have been challenges particularly in the resource sector.
“There’s never been a more important time for tourism to be properly and fully supported and that’s exactly what’s happening with this program.”
He said when governments make this kind of investment, companies are more likely to be comfortable spending cash of their own.
“Industry needs to see that the government is serious about destination marketing and that we can expect consistent demand in the tourism industry in the territory.”
In 2015, arrivals to the Yukon by plane were up two per cent compared to 2014, Germain said. That’s an increase of about 3,000 arrivals.
The Beringia Centre, Kluane National Park and the various Yukon Visitor Centres all saw more visitors as well, he said.
Neil Hartling, a former chair of the Tourism Association of the Yukon, said this summer is also looking promising.
“These ads will bring more money to the Yukon economy, plain and simple. Now more than ever the Yukon needs the economic punch from tourism. The industry has shown it punches above its weight when given the opportunity.”
The territorial government is hoping the federal government will match this latest investment. No news has come from Ottawa about that yet.
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