Yukon launches online push for tourists

In order to get more bodies through their doors and make thoseliving outside of the Yukon more aware of the territory’s uniqueculture and heritage, the Internet is proving to be a usefulmarketing tool.

The Government of Yukon’s department of tourism and culturejoined the Yukon Historical & Museums Association to launch www.yukonmuseums.ca on May18, International Museum Day.

The site features, amongst other things, museums and FirstNation cultural and interpretive centres.

“The museums have gotten together to market themselves to abroader community,” said Ed Krahn, manager, museums unit, Yukongovernment Tourism and Culture Department. “The Yukon probably hasone of the largest number of museums per capita anywhere inCanada.”

Krahn said the site is a companion piece to a print guideentitled “Yukon: A Guide to Heritage Attractions” available throughthe Visitor Information Centre and other museums.

“It was a guide to heritage attractions and this is an outreachof that, allowing people to have a site where they can keep theinformation up to date and also able to provide information oncollections that people might have and general information(directions, admission rates, etc.),” he said.

One of the museums featured on the Web site is Dawson CityMuseum, of which Brian Stethem is the acting executivedirector.

“The Yukon has a very short tourist season, but it has veryintense tourists, people that come for an adventure, so they do alot of research beforehand,” said Stethem. “The Internet is animportant marketing tool.”

The Dawson City Museum only operates in the summer, which istrue for most businesses in Dawson, because the Top of the Worldhighway (connecting West Dawson and Alaska) is closed in thewinter, said Stethem.

He added the museum attracts a lot of tourists from the U.S.,which may be due in part to the Yukon’s proximity to Alaska.

“We also attract a lot of European tourists, there’s a directflight from Frankfurt to Whitehorse in the summer,” saidStethem.

A lot of work has taken place over the years in the digitizationof their collections, and they have approximately seven virtualmuseum sites there in the Yukon, said Krahn.

“There’s a lot of using new technology to tell a story in theYukon, and part of it is because our communities are fairlywidespread, as well as our distance from the rest of Canada,” hesaid. “More travelers to the Yukon are using the web to plan theirtrip, and this site will help them do that.

“It’s about getting the information out to a wideraudience…the preservation of our unique heritage is important andthis site allows us to reach that audience.”

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