Alaska's marketing plan focuses on retailers

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Travel agents will be a major focus of Alaska's tourism marketing efforts in 2002, according to the Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA).

Agents will be courted like never before as the state takes steps to mitigate the downturn in travel following the Sept 11 terrorist attacks, and as it gears up for next year's travel season, according to Kathy Dunn, marketing director, ATIA.

Dunn said the ATIA is working with ICTA to develop a Destination Specialist Alaska program similar to the one ICTA operates for Hawaii. The program is scheduled to be rolled out in April or May.

The ATIA also is in the process of mailing out 28,000 vacation planners to agents on the West Coast and in the Midwest.

Meanwhile, Alaska returned to the airwaves on Oct. 15 with a $1.2 million TV campaign scheduled to run for five weeks on national cable stations like the Travel Channel and The Learning Channel. The commercials mark Alaska's return to television for its tourism advertising after taking the last fiscal year (July to June) off.

The ATIA also will debut a series of print ads in the U.S. and Canada next month.

The U.S. campaign will debut in December with ads in magazines that cater to the driving market, including Westways and Home and Away magazines. The Canadian push will include newspaper ads debuting in November.

Dunn said that the ATIA has petitioned the state for an additional $12.5 million for tourism promotion in 2002. That's in addition to the $4.65 million already allocated by the state for tourism marketing.

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