ATIA, Visit Anchorage, and Explore Fairbanks Encourage Alaskans to Take Advantage of the World Class Tourist Destination in Their Backyard
Alaska is gorgeous and full of adventure. For those of us who live here, though, it can sometimes be easy to forget that we live in a state that is on bucket lists for travelers worldwide. Even those of us who make a point to enjoy what Alaska has to offer can be hesitant to pursue activities and destinations in-state that are overwhelmed by Outside visitors during the summer season.
COVID-19 has disrupted Alaska in incalculable ways, and as the days march toward the Summer Solstice the impact on businesses that thrive on tourism becomes more and more clear. One in ten jobs in Alaska are supported by tourism, which means a slow season will have far reaching effects.
While it’s going to be a tough season, the industry is still gearing up to provide the best experiences it can to whoever is able to show up.
The Alaska Tourism Industry Association (ATIA) is inviting every Alaskan to do just that through its Show Up for AK summer campaign. The Show Up for AK website features specials for residents, trip ideas, safety information, and a photo contest with two Alaska Airlines tickets as its prize.
The website states, “Do all those things you’ve always wanted to do… Show up for Alaska, for your neighbors, and for our small businesses. Show up and see all that Alaska has to offer. We can’t wait to see you.”
GCI is partnering with ATIA to bolster Alaska’s tourism industry, launching “Wander AK Wednesdays.” The project will help spotlight local travel and tourism businesses throughout the state by promoting special offers from ATIA member businesses via TV, radio, and social media.
“GCI has deep Alaska roots and we will continue to support our neighbors, especially those in the tourism industry, which has been greatly impacted by COVID-19,” said GCI Chief Marketing Officer Kate Slyker in a release about the initiative.
Visit Anchorage has launched a complementary campaign: Stay and Play Summer. According to Visit Anchorage president and CEO Julie Saupe, the goal of the campaign is to encourage Alaska resident to explore Southcentral to generate business for the industry.
Visit Anchorage’s Vice President of Communications and Public Affairs Kathy Dunn explains that this summer Visit Anchorage is also focused on helping local residents see the many opportunities available to them because of the unique circumstances COVID-19 has created. While the association continues to mail visitor guides, work with Outside industry experts, and market to a national audience, it is spending marketing dollars in Alaska, which is unusual.
To help residents find the best opportunities, Visit Anchorage set up a Stay and Play Summer Website, which lists ideas for adventure in Anchorage (day trips, a public art tour, fishing spots, and more) as well as numerous travel deals specifically for Alaska residents.
Visit Anchorage has also launched an Anchorage for Locals newsletter, which will keep people abreast of new ideas, activities, and deals. Dunn says, “We’re enticing Alaskans to travel outside their hometown and enjoy activities that are normally too busy… That gets our Alaskan residents supporting Alaskan businesses—our friends and neighbors helping [small businesses] through this tough time.”
Also complementing the efforts of ATIA, Explore Fairbanks is promoting its Explore Local campaign. According to the organization, “Tourism businesses are in jeopardy due to the severe limitations and restrictions that COVID-19 has placed on air, cruise and border travel. The Explore Local recovery campaign hopes to mitigate the severity by asking Alaskan residents to make a special effort to patronize these businesses. Be assured that travel industry professionals are actively reinforcing the recommended sanitation and safety mandates, guidelines and protocols in their businesses.”
The campaign is using various platforms including online, print, radio, and a series of mini-videos “featuring engaging facts about iconic area wide locations and activities” to inform and interest area residents.
The Explore Local information page hosts those mini-videos as well as ideas for activities in the Interior and resources to help Alaska residents explore what the Fairbanks and the surrounding areas have to offer, including nature walks, hikes with huskies or reindeer, photo treks, ATV tours and zip lining, and guided fishing trips, among many others. Explore Fairbanks’ website also maintains a current list of hundreds of travel industry companies and their “Open for Business” status.
Wherever in Alaska you may reside, this summer is a unique opportunity for Alaskans to get a more thorough knowledge of our favorite place while taking advantage of small (or nonexistent) crowds, lowered costs, or built-in perks. As we continue to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, we encourage every Alaskan to take all reasonable precautions and practice social distancing and healthy habits—while Showing Up for AK.
In This Issue
Spreading the Word
When Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) first aired TV commercials featuring the tagline, “A Place That’s Always Been,” the reaction was surprising. Not only because they received numerous accolades and marketing awards for the campaign but because, at the time, it was rare for Alaska Native corporations to market themselves through the media.