Local News

Tour industry, visitor bureaus to meet in Sitka

Cruise-ship tourists view Juneau's Mendenhall Glacier from a sand bar. The glacier is one of the most popular stops in the capital city.

Cruise-ship tourists view Juneau’s Mendenhall Glacier from a sand bar. The glacier is one of the most popular stops in the capital city. (CoastAlaska News)

Leaders of Alaska’s visitors’ industry will gather in Sitka Oct. 7-10.

More than 400 excursion operators, tourism managers and cruise officials are expected to attend the Alaska Travel Industry Association’s conference.

Sarah Leonard is president of the ATIA.

“It’s the annual time where our industry partners and managers gather to learn about trends and projections and network and get excited for the next season,” she says.

The conference offers business, marketing and public relations sessions for those in the industry.

International tourism consultant Lenwood Sloan is a keynote speaker. Leonard says he will address what’s called heritage tourism.

“He’s going to be talking about how communities can weave those characteristics into their destination and help highlight their destinations around cultural tourism,” she says.

Click here for the tourism conference agenda.

Leonard says Alaska’s visitors’ industry is slowly growing, bringing about 1.8 million people to the state. Close to one million tourists cruise the coast, while others arrive by plane, car or RV.

The travel industry association does not have numbers for this year yet. But she says tour operators have told her it was a good summer.

Leonard is optimistic about the 2014 season.

“We see, hopefully, increases in international visitation through some new services like the state’s partnership with Iceland Air and bringing that new air service to Alaska. So we’re very excited about that,” she says.

She says government and private advertising campaigns are increasing interest in the state. She says Alaska “reality” TV shows are also helping spread the word.

 

Recent News

Change Your Latitude swim race

One of the northernmost open water swims in the world, the Change Your Latitude 57 degrees North Open Water Challenge is happening this weekend in Sitka. Race director Kevin Knox and participants Grant Turner and Patrick Williams visit the KCAW studio to talk about the race's history and provide details of Sunday's fifth annual race. more

Roads, ferries, airports: Meetings spotlight SE transportation plan

The ferry Malaspina makes a rare visit to waters off downtown Sitka during the 2010 Alaska Day celebration. A state transportation plan would route ferries to a new terminal across Baranof Island at the end of a new road. (Ed Schoenfeld/CoastAlaska News)
Sitkans will have a chance to learn more about proposed local and regional transportation projects at a meeting the evening of Aug. 20 at Centennial Hall. more