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New Visitor Study Reveals Increase in International Visitors to Alaska

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A new state research study found that Australia has edged out the United Kingdom to become Alaska’s top international market, and that overall international visitation to Alaska grew to 10 percent during the summer of 2011.
 
The Alaska Visitors Statistics Program (AVSP) Summer 2011 study, done by the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development and the Alaska Travel Industry Association, found that an estimated 154,100 international visitors traveled to Alaska during the summer of 2011.

Australia, Europe, and Asia accounted for most of Alaska’s international visitors during the study period, while an estimated 22,000 visitors came from other international markets, most notably Brazil and Israel.
 
“This data offers Alaskans in the travel industry the ability to maximize their marketing dollars by targeting specific, high-potential markets at a time when every dollar counts,” said Susan Bell, commissioner of the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.
 
The complete AVSP report was released in late March and outlines statistics on visitor volume, trip purpose, transportation modes, length of stay, demographics, and more on the international market.
 
“International visitors accounted for ten percent of the overall out-of-state visitor market in 2011, an increase over the last time this study was done in 2006,” said Jillian Simpson, director of travel trade and international marking at the Alaska Travel Industry Association. “And their impact is significant. International visitors stay longer and spend more money while they’re here, accounting for $156 million in revenue.”
 
The report, which also covers Alaska’s North American travel market, revealed a two percent increase in overall visitation between the summer of 2010 and 2011, a welcome increase after several consecutive years of decline during the recent U.S. economic downturn.
 
The study was commissioned to collect information from visitors about their Alaska experience, in-state spending, and trip-planning process. The current survey is the sixth in a series of research reports that began in the mid-1980s. AVSP does not include Canada in the international marketing program. Statistics on Canadian travelers are reflected in the domestic report.  
 
Both the international and domestic reports, along with past studies, are available online at http://commerce.alaska.gov/ded/dev/toubus/research.htm.

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