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Anchorage Daily News Gives Update on Alaska Tourism Season

Kristen Fowler Lindsey - Monday, July 13, 2009

The Anchorage Daily News published an article yesterday with interviews on the Alaska tourism season, but for anyone in Anchorage who has been downtown in the past few months, the report is no surprise: there are fewer tourists in Anchorage and Alaska this year. Some areticle highlights:

  • Visitors who are in Alaska are spending less.
  • 11% fewer visitors arrived via Ted Stevens International Airport in May.
  • Bookings on the Alaska Railroad are down 10 to 15 percent, year to date, according to the railroad.
  • About 25 percent fewer people visited Anchorage's five visitor information centers, which are run by the bureau.
Anecdotal reports also speak to the tourism industry's initial fears becoming a reality:

  • A local restaurant is contacting loyal local customers to tell them they don't have to avoid downtown this summer - it is not crowded.
  • A recent visitor to Fairbanks described it as "very quiet."

What can businesses do to prevent the year from being a loss? Apokrisis has been counseling the following strategies since the economic downturn began:


  1. Keep marketing. If you cut back on your marketing budget too dramatically, you lose any chance of reaching those visitors that do plan on coming.
  2. But make sure that marketing is targeted and focused. Gather as much information as you can on what is working and what isn't.
  3. Review your target audiences - which of your customer types are likely to continue to travel? Who may back off? Focus on those you think will come.
  4. Your strategy needs to focus on gaining more share. A higher share of visitors could keep you close to previous levels of business. It is a reality when fewer people are visiting.

All indications are that the economic climate will continue at least into 2010. Start planning for next year now.

Do you have any stories about your observations on tourism in Alaska? Your own community? Please share!

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