Dunleavy: New grants boost tourism

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In advance of his budget roll-out on Wednesday, Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced tourism grants to continue the momentum of recovery for the $4.5 billion annual Alaska visitor economy.

A $5 million federally sourced grant will be part of his proposed 2023 budget, which will be directed to the Alaska Travel Industry Association, which is in addition to the $10.5 million federal grant he designated to ATIA in September.

“Last summer, visitors began returning after ATIA launched a national marketing campaign that engaged travelers to visit in the COVID-safe spaces of vast Alaska,” said Dunleavy. “In many parts of the state, we saw more travelers moving through our airports, staying in hotels and bed & breakfasts, fishing, and staying at facilities in state parks.” 

A study by McKinley Research Group showed visitor volume fell by an estimated 82 percent between April and December for 2019 and 2020. From 2.4 million visitors, it dropped to just 427,000 visitors. 

The economic loss from a canceled cruise ship season for Alaska is estimated to total $3 billion alone. In 2020, zero visitors arrived by cruise ship.

Early last year, when many tourism businesses were considering closing their doors, Governor Dunleavy directed $5 million in emergency CARES Act funds to ATIA to attract independent travelers to Alaska through different modes of transportation.

“ATIA is Alaska’s statewide tourism marketing leader. I appreciate how the nonprofit has collaborated with other tourism promoters and my Administration to keep Alaska top of mind for potential travelers,” Governor Dunleavy said. “I applaud the outreach work of the many other tourism visitor centers, chambers, and bureaus as well. Our joint work may be credited with bringing in tourists after the disaster and saving many small tourism businesses.”

Competitive tourism marketing grants for the Covid-safe campaign were issued to the following entities:

Tourism marketing grants:

  • Mat-Su Convention and Visitors Bureau $170,385
  • Explore Fairbanks Alaska $348,640
  • Discover Kodiak $31,107
  • Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center $253,489
  • Seward Chamber of Commerce $179,000
  • Visit Anchorage $1,630,000
  • Ketchikan Visitors Bureau $527,790
  • Cordova Chamber of Commerce $376,000
  • Koahnic Broadcast Corporation $451,580
  • Alaska Travel Industry Association $1,999,279 
  • Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council $410,000
  • Visit Sitka, Sitka Chamber of Commerce $235,000
  • Travel Juneau $574,000
  • Kawerak, Inc. $941,885
  • Valdez Convention and Visitors Bureau $88,290
  • Spruce Root, Inc. $1,560,000
  • Copper Valley Development Association $140,000
  • Haines Economic Development Corporation $88,355

The funding will help Alaska’s tourism industry remain competitive, the governor said. “There’s more pent-up demand to travel globally, and we want Alaska to compete for it and to capitalize on it,” Dunleavy.

Visitors’ dollars circulating in the economy support tourism businesses, restore jobs, and generate revenue for Alaska communities.

During his announcement, reporters were told that the number of returning cruise ships is expected to hit an all-time high. Thirty ships make up the normal season. 2021 saw eight ships, the industry reports. International air service returns in summer 2022 with Iceland, Germany, and Canada restoring connecting flights in Anchorage and a potential for new service to Seoul, Korea, and Japan.

“In preparation for growth in visitors, my budget will also seek an extra $1 million for the State Parks to make sure our facilities are clean and accessible for both in and out-of-state visitors,” Dunleavy said.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Wow!
    That’s really cool! Very exciting!
    (Now if maybe he could protect the constitutional rights of Alaskans and maybe their ability to feed their families. Just sayin.)

    • Which rights do you imagine you need the protection of your governor for? If you don’t have the ability to feed your family in Alaska, there are 49 other states to choose from. I have freezers full of red meat and fish, harvested from the land and sea…let me know if you need some help that your government isn’t providing enough for your needs. Ain’t Alaska Great, ain’t America Great!

      • Listen jackass. You are not more Alaskan (unless that includes poaching and 1 or zero kids.)
        Some of us actually have a high skill set acquired over years.
        Demanding a worthless and dangerous clot shot to keep a job (especially with no option for religious exemption) is sick, stupid, wrongheaded, and unconstitutional.
        Sorry to be so harsh, but this is a blisteringly stupid statement.

          • Any opponent in a storm, Evan the Left one?
            Are you really so thick between the ears that you can’t get why forcing or coercing someone to take a useless and dangerous clot shot to keep their job is a problem?
            I pity you and your lack of understanding what should be fairly obvious.

        • Steve the troll thinks compliance through threat means a right wasn’t violated. Troll thinks coercion and threat then compliance doesn’t violate right to life liberty and happiness.
          He skipped those ideas. Hes fine if your friends and family suffer while you or they are forced out of state and take a lower paying job somewhere they are forced to be by a government edict . Obedience is everything to steve. Conformity is a prerequisite.
          Steve doesn’t believe in rights . He ignored the part of the constitution where it says certain eneumerated rights are not meant to limit or disparage others retained by the people or reserved to the state. His mind cant grasp that there may be many rights he doesn’t fully understand.
          He bypassed the Declaration of Independence where it basically made the governments job to further your rights.
          Steve thinks its acceptable to stand by those who threaten your livelihood and ability to care for others . He believes it’s acceptable to stand by and watch others suffer or loose everything the have worked towards. He wont stand up for you but he will occasionally open his freezer if it behooves him .
          He thinks its fine for you to be reduced to begging him for food like a slave / orphan/ or ward of the state . If you are a good little commenter he will open his freezer for you . Good puppy. Sit and be quiet. You can have 1 bag of salmon. Oh your daughter has college costs or your house payment? Tough luck bub , cant help you there .
          What would steve do or feel if roles were reduced and the government declared an emergency saying all those who dont loose 40 pounds cannot be employed because they are a bad example to others health decisions a financial burden on health care and a hazard to themselves not to mention requiring a greater carbon usage to moove the heavy from one area to another. We cant have an overweight person causing air pollution can we? Remember no exemptions for those who are naturally skinny.
          Now Feed the troll . Watch it do silly tricks!

      • And if our no cojones ‘I’ll need some time to wrap my head around this’ governor can’t follow the lead of decent governors, he needs to get the hell out of the way.

  2. Nothing produces Tourism more than big gubmint spending! How Republican of the Governor to spend, spend, spend. Maybe next year offer free $100 vouchers to tourists who spend 5 or more days in Alaska, that ought to save the economy.

  3. We the citizens of Alaska purpose the following trade with the citizens of Florida Alaska gets Ron desantis, Florida gets dividend checks 2 oil wells mike dunleavy and crab legs. Enough of the oath breaker politicians we have enough of all the oath breakers we have I say.

  4. A great reminder to vote for Chris Kurka and leave this RINO off my ballot next year. Once you show him the federal pork our current governor rolls over and goes full Democrat

  5. Step down Dunleavy
    President Trump is aware of your incompetent no leadership style and will be at your door removing his endorsement
    You have been embarrassing

  6. And this folks is how we get 29tn dollars of debt…..another drop in the bucket…a heavy bucket that will be a burden on the necks of our future generations to carry.

    Who knows how this money will really be spent.

    If you are frustrated with crap like this it’s time to fire your elected officials.
    It’s time to demand better.

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