How to maintain momentum as the crisis drags on

Adventure-seekers can't go to the Yukon, so the region's tourism board and Cossette are bringing the Yukon to them.


During the lockdown, Canadians (and pretty much anyone who owned a gym membership but couldn’t use it) gravitated online in search of home workouts. Tapping into the at-home fitness craze, Tourism Yukon created an Instagram campaign that helps users stay active via workouts set to the backdrop of the picturesque region.

Created by Cossette for Tourism Yukon’s 105,000 IG followers, “Sweatin’ to the Yukon” includes a series of activities like lumberjack training and paddling exercises, as well as workouts aimed at helping visitors prep for the Great Klondike International Outhouse Race in August.

On a more high brow note, the tourism board also created a Yukon Book Club, which launched with the most famous novel associated with the region, The Call of the Wild by Jack London. Jason Marcotte, marketing manager North America for Tourism Yukon said the team chose the novel, set during the province’s Klondike Gold Rush, after a recent film adaptation contributed to broader interest in the province as a tourist destination.

“The campaign sprung out of the idea of trying to engage [people] to participate with us, even though they can’t be here,” says Marcotte. While Nunavut, BC, and Northwest Territories residents are free to visit without self-quarantining, the rest of Canada can only visit if they self-isolate for two weeks after they enter, making it less appealing for visitors to make the lengthy trip. The Canada Border Services Agency and U.S. Customs (including neighbouring Alaska) are temporarily restricting all non-essential travel across its borders to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Typically, the organization runs ad campaigns from January to March to engage constituents in advance of the summer, its busiest season. According to Yukon Tourism visitation figures from 2019, June, July and August saw a spike in international travel, 18% higher than the five year average between 2014 and 2018.

But with travel restrictions in place for the foreseeable future, Tourism Yukon wanted to keep the momentum going and engage with young and active adventure-seekers (a departure from its core audience of those age 55-plus) in hopes that they will visit the region when the pandemic abates.

In the past, it’s had to tackle preconceptions that the region is cold and/or dark year-round. So previous Yukon Tourism campaigns focused on promoting seasonal phenomena such as the Midnight Sun, when earth’s star remains visible in the middle of the night. Tourism Yukon also previously reached out to Canadian visitors in the fall, with campaigns (also from Cossette) that highlighted winter experiences like dog sledding.