Yukon's 'vibrant' tourism industry to get long-term direction this fall

The Tourism Development Strategy Steering Committee finished its public consultation. Now it is putting together its strategy to possibly release next month.

Tourism development committee to release recommendations next month

The Carcross Commons in Carcross, Yukon, is always a popular stopping place for tourists, especially those from Alaskan cruise ships. (Jane Sponagle/CBC)

"Bold" long-term goals for Yukon's tourism industry could be coming this fall.

The Tourism Development Strategy Steering Committee has finished its public consultation. Now the committee is putting together its strategy to possibly release next month.

"The committee was established to provide a more long-term view of tourism development strategy for the Yukon," said committee co-chair Rich Thompson.

The S.S. Keno is recognized as a Klondike National Historic Site in Dawson City. (Jane Sponagle/CBC)

He says the public consultation was to find out people's thoughts on how the tourism industry could be improved, and its role.

There were some conflicting views on where the industry should head. Thompson said some people want tourism restricted in some areas, but others would like to see it in all parts of the territory.

The Downtown Hotel is a popular tourist destination in Dawson City. It's home to the 'sourtoe cocktail,' which includes a severed human toe. (Jane Sponagle/CBC)

Thompson says many people believe tourism is a secondary industry in terms of economic impact to mining and government spending, but the amount of importance people put on the tourism industry was "a bit of a surprise and very encouraging."

He says that's reflected in the fact that "the Yukon leads all jurisdictions in Canada in terms of the percentage of employees who are employed in the tourism industry."

Thompson couldn't reveal what the recommendations will be in the strategy, but he says there will be some "bold strokes proposed."

Yukon's tourism industry is "vibrant," Thompson says, because there is investment in accommodation, and wilderness tourism continues to grow. The low Canadian dollar is also helping, along with more government marketing and a significant investment by the private sector over the past decade.

"It's an industry that has its feet solidly on the ground and a good future," said Thompson.

With files from Sandi Coleman