Tourism Yukon makes the case to visit a ‘Different World’

A new platform meant to attract Canadians who would otherwise look to international destinations is key to the recovery effort for the territory's tourism sector.

The Yukon knows it’s somewhere on a lot of Canadian travelers’ bucket lists – but the territory is making its case to move up a few spots.

That’s the primary goal of a new platform, called “A Different World in Canada,” developed by Tourism Yukon with creative agency Cossette.

The platform draws on insights the tourism organization gleaned through pre-pandemic research that showed while the territory is on the list of destinations many Canadians want to visit, they often consider international destinations first.

Tourism Yukon has chosen this moment, when restrictions are lifting on international travel, to urge those Canadians to get out and explore “a different worldly experience, but right here in Canada,” says Robyn Smith, VP and GM of Cossette Vancouver.

“In many ways, we feel that the Yukon is Canada on steroids,” adds Robin Anderson, global marketing manager for the tourism organization. “The pandemic is shining a light on destinations like the Yukon. People are thinking they’re ready for a long holiday again, but they want to do something closer to home – something still within the borders of Canada, but that is unique.”

The new creative aims to capture that unique feel of the territory through a distinct visual approach that sets it apart from the traditional messaging used by other tourism organizations, says Smith.

“The collage treatment that you see allows us to stand out in the category,” she explains. “It gives us a lot of flexibility and allows us to show the 360-degree experience of everything the Yukon has to offer, without the cliché of the traditional montage.”

That unique approach was crucial for the campaign to make a lasting impression – and a meaningful difference for the Yukon’s tourism industry, which is a key driver of the territory’s economy, Anderson told strategy.

While historically much of that travel had originated from the U.S. – the Yukon is a throughpoint for travelers who are cruising or driving to Alaska, and a historically significant area in itself – the territory had spent much of the past two decades developing the Canadian market.

Prior to the pandemic, about 14% of the territory’s jobs were attributable to tourism, Anderson notes, and the industry accounted for 4.4% of its GDP.

That was good news for the Yukon when tourism was booming – it had enjoyed three consecutive record years for visitation from 2017 to 2019, and hit the 500,000 traveler mark in 2019 for the first time in its history, Anderson said. But when the pandemic hit, the industry collapsed, as it did elsewhere.

“We were down 97% at one point in time,” he says. “We look at this campaign as a big part of our recovery effort.”

The campaign is running primarily on TV, online video and social, but also includes a print execution because the creative “lends itself beautifully to print,” says Anderson. It will run in two waves, the first for the winter until Nov. 28, and the second to attract summer travel that will air beginning in the new year and until Feb. 27.