Icy Strait Point named a 2013 Condé Nast Traveler World Savers Finalist
The travel industry continues to take note of Icy Strait Point's mission to support the community of Hoonah and the Huna Tlingit culture.
Today Condé Nast Traveler named the Alaska Native-owned cruise ship destination as a finalist in the magazine’s sixth annual World Savers Awards, which honor travel companies that demonstrate exceptional achievement in environmental and social responsibility. Of 174 applicants, 53 finalists were selected across eight categories. They can be found online at http://www.cntraveler.com/world-savers/2013.
Winners of the 2013 World Savers Awards will be announced in the September issue of Condé Nast Traveler magazine.
This honor follows closely on the heels of the recognition that Icy Strait Point earned in Travel + Leisure’s Global Vision Awards, which also heralded the work of standard-bearers for responsible tourism, in October 2012. Icy Strait Point also won a Travel to a Better World Award from the Travel Industry Association and National Geographic Traveler magazine in 2008.
“These honors aren’t coming to us because we’re new. Icy Strait Point is being chosen out of hundreds of nominees because we’re a proven and successful tourism business doing the right thing for our community. That’s been our mission since day one and will always be our mission,” Huna Totem Corporation CEO and President Lawrence Gaffaney said.
The Southeast Alaska cruise ship destination is committed to advancing the economic aspirations and culture of the Xúna Kaawu (people of Hoonah) through job creation, leadership and education. At the same time, arriving cruise ship passengers are immersed in Huna Tlingit culture and have a chance to interact with locals, knowing that the money they spend on excursions, food and souvenirs supports those same people.
Emphasis for the visitor experience is placed on talking with local guides and Huna Tlingit storytellers who introduce travelers to their land and their way of life. The cultural integrity of the dances, stories and traditional regalia has been ensured by working directly with the elders. The gift shops on site are operated by local artists and entrepreneurs selling everything from traditional herbal remedies to wood carvings. Icy Strait Point also gives local high school students an opportunity to operate a gift shop with proceeds going back to the school’s activities programs.
Sustainable tourism practices developed by Icy Strait Point have aided the economic environment in Hoonah immensely through its own payroll and local spending practices. Icy Strait Point is the largest employer in Hoonah, maintaining 90 percent local hire since construction began in 2001. With the success of Icy Strait Point, new businesses have emerged, creating additional local jobs. Since 2003, annual sales tax to the City of Hoonah has more than doubled, primarily due to Icy Strait Point.
“We’re a small, close-knit community and that ripple effect of success is very evident,” Icy Strait Point’s Vice President of Operations Tyler Hickman said.
Opened in 2004, Icy Strait Point is a wholly owned and operated subsidiary of Huna Totem Corporation, the village corporation owned by approximately 1,350 Alaska Natives with aboriginal ties to Hoonah and the Glacier Bay area. Located 50 miles west of Juneau and 22 miles south of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Icy Strait Point is the only privately owned cruise ship destination in Southeast Alaska. The former Hoonah Packing Co. Cannery building complex was restored to house the destination’s museum, gift shops, restaurants and theater. Guests can take part in 23 guided shore excursions on site. For more information on visitor activities, please visit www.icystraitpoint.com.