Tobias Barth, 40, is German and has lived in Whitehorse, Canada since 2016. With his company Epic answer He specializes in tours of the Yukon Territory, Alaska and the Canadian Arctic.
“Yukon has a high season heat, from early June to mid-September. But this summer passed with practically no guests. Instead, we had cancellations, cancellations and postponements. We are fortunate to have three of our customers. A fourth continue their tour. We were allowed to continue business, but with some bookings we may have paid more. Customers understood that we would have to cancel them.
The situation was already announced in February: In general, the winter season is the time of year when we have many Asian customers visiting because of the northern lights. But then only three out of five participants in a Chinese group arrived at our venue, the other two were not allowed on board because they had high temperatures. I suspected that something was moving towards us.
This may sound strange to Europeans, but the lockout in Canada is among the provinces: anyone who leaves their province has to remain in quarantine for 14 days. Even though the country is so populated. But the rules are very strict, and even strict in the Yukon because we have a high proportion of First Nation residents who are particularly susceptible to coronoviruses. Thanks to these measures, the Yukon was largely spared. And thanks to good state aid, we have gone through a crisis so far. We can use the money to cover our ongoing costs. So my bottom line so far: We had a modest time in terms of sales, but a great time to improve our visits and optimize my website.
We also had time to think about which tours we really want. The region has always been predisposed to social distinctions – a lot of space is something that many allies with North America. Even more in the Yukon. It has now become a selling point, the Yukon may actually be one of the winners of this crisis.
The good thing is that we have a limited infrastructure of hotels and accommodation – unlike Banff ski area, for example. It should remain like this. A survey of the population clearly showed: We want healthy development, but not in conditions like Banff. You can do good business until next year, next year. “