Nunavut Post

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Visitors back to Yukon, but the season isn’t without challenges


Key takeaways: 

  • Staff lacks, and inflation is tough on business owners.
  • Tourism operators in Dawson City and Yukon say staffing needs have been challenging.

Yukon’s tourism initiative is coming back to life, but for operators getting back to routine hasn’t come without challenges. 

In Dawson City, roads are loaded with tourists taking photos and participating in group outings. Numerous hotels are reaching capacity on weekend evenings.

It’s a welcome shift for Andy Cunningham, marketing and events manager for the Klondike Visitors Association (KVA), representing some regional businesses.

“It’s lovely to have a tourism season again,” Cunningham said. “It’s a bit of a surprise after the previous few years, but a good surprise because it’s what we’re used to.” 

But in the face of a labor lack, some companies are struggling to employ enough staff to keep up with demand.

Also read: Norman Wells football player exhilarated to be selected for Team NT 

Yukon’s tourism initiative is coming back to life, but for operators getting back to routine hasn’t come without challenges

Staffing shortages

The KVA also runs Diamond Tooth Gerties, a casino in Dawson City known for nightly, high-energy arrangements. Gerties has cut its hours from seven days a week to five because there’s no good team to stay open.

“We’re feeling it,” Cunningham stated. “And we’re not the only ones. Many companies take one or two evenings off because they don’t have the people.” At 6.3 percent, Yukon has the most increased job vacancy rate in Canada. 

Blake Rogers, executive director of Yukon’s Tourism Industry Association, told companies across the region struggle to recruit staff.

Staffing needs have made it more difficult for visitors to find accommodations, especially in Whitehorse, Rogers said, because several hotels and inns don’t have the resources to service all their rooms.

“Not having sufficient staff does limit businesses,” Rogers said. “We see a lot of companies that have decreased hours or lowered services. So this is difficult, particularly in peak season with higher need.” 

Source – CBC News

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