An infusion of $1 million in tourism to the territory each year could result in improved tourist attractions, accommodations, staff housing, improved trails, better signage, road repairs and more .
The Government of Yukon announced the creation of the Community Tourism Destination Development Fund at a press conference Oct. 27 with Tourism and Culture Minister Ranj Pillai, describing the new fund, beginning in 2023, as a way to build tourism capacity in Yukon communities.
“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, Yukon’s tourism industry was experiencing capacity issues, especially in our smaller communities,” he said. “In many cases, we attract enough visitors to our communities, but we lack the capacity to leverage the economic benefits that tourism offers.”
Funds will be available on a first-come, first-served basis to businesses, First Nations governments and development corporations, municipalities and non-profit groups for projects to improve tourism services and infrastructure.
Examples of applications that meet the criteria would be improvements and expansions to existing tourist attractions such as cultural centres, heritage and historic sites, First Nations trails and signage. On the business side, upgrades to visitor accommodation of 20 rooms or less, employee accommodation, hospitality and event centers are on the list.
There is also the possibility of improving the toilets, the campsite and the road when the road is directly connected to a project.
Special consideration will be given to projects where local organizations are working to create more tourism opportunities in their community.
Using Dawson as a potential example, he noted that there were municipal and First Nations governments, the Klondike Visitors Association and a development corporation.
“What we hope is that these groups will come together, they will align their capacity and their effectiveness,” he said.
On whether the territory has the labor available for the projects given the current labor shortage, Pillai said the government will work with communities on measures to address it.
He also pointed out that the works that should be funded under the program are not major capital projects, but rather initiatives that can be done relatively quickly.
“The capacity is here in the Yukon, no problem, to do the projects that we’ve been talking about and so we’re comfortable with the labor issue,” Pillai said.
Ben Ryan, treasurer of the Tourism Industry Association of Yukon, said the new fund aligns with national direction.
“Destination development is at the forefront of Canada’s tourism strategy,” he said, adding that he believes it will put the territory “at the cutting edge of what Canada is trying to do in the landscape. world tourism.
The fund is divided into two tiers for applications.
Businesses and organizations can apply to Tier 1 for projects with budgets up to $100,000. Tier 2 projects have budgets between $100,001 and $500,000.
An application deadline of February 15, 2023 has been set for Tier 1 projects, while a deadline of March 15, 2023 is in place for Tier 2 projects.
Full program guidelines and application forms will be available online November 30.
An information session is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on November 30 at the Yukonstruct in Whitehorse and virtually on Zoom. It will be recorded and posted online.
Awareness sessions are also organized for the communities.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at [email protected]