PALMER, Alaska --
Alaskas tourism community is looking to tap into a different type
of travel advertising -- the kind that speaks to Alaskans about the
value of the tourism industry.
awareness campaign -- dont call it a marketing program, several
people cautioned -- would serve to educate Alaskans about the
importance of tourism, such as the number of in-state jobs
dependent on the industry and the amount of revenue it brings to
There have been a
lot of targeted taxes to the industry in the past couple of years,
and were constantly battling them, said Bonnie Quill, the executive
director of the Matanuska-Sisitna Convention and Visitors Bureau
here. A campaign to extol the virtues of tourism, she said, creates
support for the industry.
Matanuska-Sisitna area, better known as the Mat-Su Valley,
encompasses a huge swath of visitor-heavy sites, including Wasila,
where the Iditarod dogsled race has its restart; Talkeetna; and the
entrance to Denali National Park.
Quill and the
Mat-Su CVB has made tourism awareness a priority, putting forth a
radio and newspaper campaign over the past three years that
includes testimonials from everyday Alaskans (one example is a
graphic artist who prints brochures) about the economic benefits of
Visitors come to
watch the [dogsled] races and purchase meals, gas and souvenirs.
Local fans and front-runners alike know that tourism is good for
the whole Valley, said one newspaper ad featuring Iditarod champion
I can only
measure our success by the support we have from [the Mat-Su]
borough Assembly, and its been excellent, Quill said of the
campaign. Each year weve asked for an increase in our funding, and
weve gotten it.
Its hard for
residents to attack our industry when we have a proactive message
saying Tourism is good for our community.
year, Quill was named to an Alaska Travel Industry Association
(ATIA) work group on in-state awareness, with the goal of taking a
similar campaign statewide.
Its still a
question of funding, as the ATIAs marketing fund, partly subsidized
by the state, is earmarked for destination promotion
But Quills work
group presented a few ideas to the ATIA this fall, including asking
ATIA members to pay extra dues, asking tourism leaders to
contribute and by purchasing local ads using co-op
An ATIA spokesman
said the industry could create an ad template with a uniform
message for CVBs to use in their local markets.
I think we have
not done a good enough job of letting people know the real value of
our industry, he said. I, for one, love going out to four-star
restaurants in Anchorage, and the reality is that without the
summer tourism business, most of those wonderful restaurants and
facilities would not be there.
reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].