Archived - Success Story: Marketing Campaign Increases Visits to the Land of the Midnight Sun
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Project Location: Whitehorse, Yukon
Program: Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development
Sector: Tourism Sector
The Government of Yukon's Tourism Branch (Tourism Yukon), with the support of CanNor funding, launched Yukon Now in 2014. Yukon Now is a tourism marketing campaign aimed at increasing both awareness of Yukon as a tourist destination, and international and domestic tourism to Yukon. An economic driver in the North, tourism contributes $250 million to the territorial economy each year with approximately 25% of Yukon residents employed in the industry.
Northern Canada's unique culture, geography, and unparalleled scenery make it a spectacular tourist destination. In a pre-campaign awareness research study, 45% of Canadians surveyed said they had a positive impression of Yukon, but 72% were not familiar with Yukon travel activities and experiences. Yukon Now focused on television commercials, establishing agreements with international tour operators in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, cultivating strategic international partnerships in Japan and China, and launching a combination of online user-generated content and a digital storytelling project. Both CanNor and the Government of Yukon contributed $1.8 million to the project over two years, increasing the Tourism Yukon's marketing budget by 30%.
When the first domestic commercial aired in February 2015, traffic to the Travel Yukon website almost doubled that same month, with over 22,000 visits. The Tourism Association of Yukon also reported an increase in last-minute domestic bookings. Between October 2014 and May 2015, visitor border crossings increased by 12% compared to the previous year. In addition to the increase to the tourism industry, 39 Yukon residents and a local company – Outside the Cube – were hired to develop the TV commercials. In September 2015, Tourism Yukon and Outside the Cube received the 2015 Explore Canada Award of Excellence for Most Innovative PR Campaign for their use of online collaboration and digital storytelling.