Yukon government eyes Alaska as tourist source

Posted: Friday, March 15, 2002

WHITEHORSE, Yukon (AP) -- The Yukon government wants to attract more summer visitors from Alaska.

The government announced it will put about $190,000 into tourism marketing efforts to counter an expected drop-off of visitors because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The idea is to push the Yukon as a safe vehicle destination for Alaskans.

The bulk of the funding will go to a Welcome Alaska program, which is aimed at encouraging Alaskans to visit the territory in the summer as well as the other seasons.

Yukon bookings could slump by 15 to 25 per cent this summer, said Steven Leonard, president of the Tourism Industry Association of Yukon. After the attacks, the association had asked the government to allocate nearly $950,000 to market the Yukon.

''It's going to be a down year,'' he said.

However, the Canadian Tourism Commission noted in a recent press release that travel within Canada is on the rise since Sept. 11.

Leonard said it's difficult to put a number on how many visitors will be driving to the Yukon. Travelers may look at Alaska or the Yukon as a safe destination, he speculated.

In a statement, Tourism Minister Dale Eftoda pointed out that there are a number of other initiatives the government is taking to address the effects Sept. 11 will have on Yukon tourism.

Marketing plans for the fall and winter last year were altered to respond to the changes in North American travel. In addition, the manager of travel trade was sent to Germany to talk to tour operators and airlines about the 2002 tourism season.

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