The Government of Yukon is releasing the latest tourism visitor statistics, which show record-breaking numbers in 2017 across several key areas.
One of the areas experiencing growth is air arrivals – numbers are up eight per cent from 2016 and 18 per cent higher than the five-year average. International border crossings are up by four per cent and international overnight visitation is up three per cent. Tourism sector revenues are estimated at 7.5 per cent above 2016 figures.
The new figures come as the government is committing to the continuation of the successful Yukon Now tourism marketing program. The program focuses primarily on Canadian consumers to help increase awareness of the territory as a year-round travel destination.
The Yukon Now program started as a two-year partnership between the Government of Yukon and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) in September 2014, with each party investing $900,000 per year towards the program. Yukon Now was extended for an additional two years in 2016.
With CanNor funding set to end soon, the territorial government is committing to maintain the budget for the program by increasing its annual investment from $900,000 to $1.8-million as of this fiscal year, subject to legislative approval.
The Government of Yukon is working with industry partners to capitalize on the Yukon Now program and the growing visitation numbers. In order to give Yukoners more time to participate in the Yukon Tourism Development Strategy public engagement, the deadline to fill out the online survey has been extended to April 13, 2018. The next phase will involve compiling all of the feedback and using it to draft a made-in-Yukon strategy to sustainably grow tourism.
The Government of Yukon is committed to supporting the tourism industry. Yukon Now plays a vital role in promoting the territory and increasing visitation and revenues for Yukon businesses. We are proud to maintain this critical marketing program to help the industry grow sustainably at a time when our visitor statistics continue to increase.
Minister of Tourism and Culture Jeanie Dendys
We are pleased to hear the Government of Yukon will step up to maintain funding for Yukon Now, a game-changing marketing program. Yukon brand recognition is at an all-time high and this investment will help keep it there.
Tourism Industry Association of the Yukon Chair Neil Hartling
The Yukon Now program is important to local businesses because it helps to drive up revenue, which benefits business owners, operators and Yukoners.
Yukon Chamber of Commerce Chair Stanley Noel
Air arrivals in Whitehorse in 2017 were up eight per cent from 2016 and 18 per cent higher than the five-year average (2012-2016).
International overnight visitation to Yukon (one night stay or more) was up three per cent from 2016 and seven per cent higher than the five-year average (2012-2016).
International border crossings into Yukon were four per cent higher than 2016 and five per cent higher than the five-year average (2012-2016).
Retail sales were up six per cent from 2016 and 14 per cent higher than the five-year average (2012-2016).
Phase 1 post-campaign research conducted after the first two years of the Yukon Now program by the independent firm Insignia Marketing Research concluded that the campaign should be considered a success.
The research concluded that the program’s marketing efforts directly contributed to an overall boost to Yukon’s brand standing in the Canadian market and very likely led to a net increase in travel to the territory.
The department will be conducting an analysis of Phase 2 of the Yukon Now program at its conclusion in spring 2018.