New funding package announced for tourism industry hard hit by COVID-19

Tourism and Culture Minister Jeanie McLean today announced the Tourism Accommodation Sector Supplement. This support program of up to $2.88 million is being added to the Yukon Business Relief Program to help eligible accommodation businesses as they are a critical part of Yukon’s tourism infrastructure.

This support is one element of a broader funding package of up to $15 million over three years for the Yukon tourism industry to help the industry deal with the unprecedented impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on global tourism and travel.

The relief and recovery package has been developed with the input of the Yukon Tourism Advisory Board, a board of Yukon tourism industry experts appointed to provide strategic advice to the Minister of Tourism and Culture.

The Government of Yukon continues to engage with tourism businesses, Yukon First Nations, non-profit organizations and other partners to refine additional relief measures and long-term recovery initiatives to ensure they respond to industry needs in the most effective and efficient way.

The travel restrictions put in place to protect Yukoners and Canadians from the COVID-19 pandemic have had the unintended impact of devastating Yukon’s tourism industry. The investment that I am announcing today, consistent with the guiding principles of the Yukon Tourism Development Strategy, will put necessary relief and recovery supports in place, starting with up to $2.88 million for the accommodation sector. Full recovery of this critical industry for the Yukon economy will take time, but I am committed to ensuring our tourism sector will emerge stronger and more resilient than ever.

Minister of Tourism and Culture Jeanie McLean

Our entire Board is committed to the success of Yukon’s tourism industry. We are hyper-sensitive to the dire circumstances that many businesses are facing as the impacts on the tourism industry are prolonged. We fully support the tourism relief and recovery plan and the Yukon Tourism Development Strategy that, together, provide a solid foundation and way forward for the tourism industry.

Denny Kobayashi, Chair, Yukon Tourism Advisory Board

Quick facts 
  • Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Yukon had been experiencing record-breaking tourism growth and forecasts were for continued growth throughout 2020.

  • Based on the most recent statistics, tourism is Yukon’s largest private sector employer, accounting for 13.5 per cent of all jobs; generates $367.8 million in revenue to Yukon businesses; and accounted for 5.0 per cent of Yukon’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2018.

  • COVID-19 travel restrictions have triggered an unprecedented crisis in the global tourism industry. In Yukon, recently available statistics show that:

    • Air arrivals at YXY: down 96 per cent in second quarter of 2020 (April to June) compared to 2019.
    • International border crossings: down 92 per cent in first half 2020 (January to June) compared to 2019.
    •  Destination Canada scenarios indicate that the potential impact could range between a 43 to 61 per cent decline in the Canadian tourism economy in 2020.
Contact 

Janine Workman
Cabinet Communications
867-332-0480
Janine.workman@gov.yk.ca  

Alicia Debreceni
Communications, Tourism and Culture
867-332-3670
alicia.debreceni@gov.yk.ca

News release #: 
20-302