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Bill to Improve Marketing of Alaska Tourism Passes Senate 19-0

Senate Bill 194 creates the Alaska Tourism Marketing Board

JUNEAU-The Alaska State Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 194, which creates the Alaska Tourism Marketing Board within the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (DCCED). 

“Tourism continues to be a growing, renewable industry that is the second largest employer in the state. More than 1.9 million visitors came to Alaska last year 2013 spending over $1.8 billion,” said Senator McGuire. “This bill is an important step in continuing the growth of one of our most important economic cornerstones.”

SB194 requires DCCED and the newly created board to work together to plan and execute a destination tourism marketing plan for Alaska.

“Without adequate and stable funding levels and a consistent marketing program, Alaska cannot effectively compete with other U.S. destinations that have increased their financial investment into their own tourism marketing programs,” said Senator McGuire.

The board will be comprised of 21 members appointed by the Governor. Of the three government members of the board, one member would be the Commissioner of Commerce or the commissioner’s designee, one member would be from the House, and the other member would be from the Senate. The rest of the board would be made up of 18 public members from the travel and tourism industry in Alaska.

“Tourism is a statewide issue. What it means to market to a tourist in Southeast Alaska or the Arctic is something completely different from marketing to someone in the Interior who might be a cruise ship passenger. Then you have several different categories of tourism including accommodations, activities and attractions, transportation, and destination management organizations,” said Senator McGuire.  “That’s why we chose the size we did for this board. We decided to ensure all regions and categories of tourism get fair representation, the board should consist of members from five different regions of the state through the different segments of tourism industry.”

SB194 does not change how tourism marketing is currently funded or how expenditures are made by DCCED. It simply formalizes the board as being an important part of the process in the development of a marketing plan for the State. As part of this, the public members of the board serve at no cost to the State.

“The idea behind this board is to get the true experts of the industry together to make sure we are spending our money wisely and effectively while getting the benefit of this true expertise without any cost to the State,” said Senator McGuire. “Having significant tourism marketing experience and knowledge from the private sector at the table is very beneficial.”

SB194 now heads to the House for further consideration.

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