"And perhaps our greatest renewable resource is the majesty and allure of Alaska itself which draws nearly 2 million visitors annually. Our tourism industry creates nearly 50,000 jobs and has a direct economic impact of nearly $4 billion annually.
This is a healthy and vital industry which showcases a dynamic partnership between private enterprise and state and local government, one that has the potential of limitless growth and contribution to our economic well being."
- Governor Bill Walker, State of the State Address, Juneau, January 21, 2015
“The future offers a few opportunities for Alaska to sustain its economy. The tourism industry will continue to have a bright future as Alaska’s natural beauty will remain with few parallels in the world. This is good news for the hospitality industry.”
- Ashok K. Roy, vice president for finance and administration/chief financial officer for the University System of Alaska and associate professor of business administration at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks in a ” Fairbanks Daily News-Miner “Community Perspective,” January 11, 2015
Entrepreneurialism is a hallmark of the tourism industry
All around Interior Alaska are families, friends and neighbors who make their living by hosting highly-esteemed guests to communities from downtown Fairbanks to Chena Hot Springs to Cleary Summit, North Pole to Fox and Ester to Healy. Whether a dog musher or tour operator, restaurateur or store owner, tourism provides unparalleled opportunities for local entrepreneurs. A dream, a business plan and a lot of sweat equity are all keys to their successes.
Tourism business owners, managers and employees demonstrate a passion for showcasing “Alaskan Grown” activities such as the Alaskan lifestyle, Alaska Native culture, live performances, fine arts, products made from locally-harvested goods, or adventures from the Dalton Highway to hot springs. Over the years as winter tourism has grown, some entrepreneurs who originally envisioned a summer business have expanded to showcase winter offerings and others are successful as winter-only businesses.
Tourism contributes to Fairbanksans’ quality of life
The successes of the local tourism industry permeates the fabric of life in the Fairbanks region. Local residents enjoy more benefits because of visitor spending in the community—cultural activities and things to do, more options in air service, more hotel meetings spaces are just a few of perks of having an influx of guests in the community. Examples abound. Residents savor restaurants and use meeting and banquet spaces. Some publicly-owned facilities, such as Pioneer Park, are supported by tourists’ spending. Visitors’ appreciation of museums, historic sites and other attractions plays a role in helping the community preserve its heritage for future generations. Guests and locals alike value impressive flower displays and are equally awed by ice sculptures in winter.
Tourism operates in a competitive and dynamic marketing environment
Explore Fairbanks works with business partners locally, in the lower 48 and in key markets around the world to lure and bring guests to Fairbanks. As the destination marketing and management organization for the region, Explore Fairbanks plays an active role in developing the local economy. From marketing to infrastructure development, results-driven activities—in tandem with those of tour operators, cruise partners and many small businesses—have contributed to on-going and recent successes.
Tourism Works for Fairbanks Supplement in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
Explore Fairbanks works with business partners to produce an annual “Tourism Works” supplement in a Sunday edition of the local newspaper, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.
Summer tourism is the mainstay of the Fairbanks area
Source: Alaska Visitor Statistics Program, Summer 2011*
Winter tourism, also known as the “opportunity season,” shows steady growth pre-, during and post-recession
Source: Alaska Visitor Statistics Program, Winter 2011-2012*
*Alaska Visitor Statistics Program is prepared by the McDowell Group for the Alaska Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development. New data is anticipated for Summer 2016 and Winter 2016/17.
State Resources for Tourism Information and Research
For more State of Alaska tourism research, go to: https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/ded/DEV/TourismDevelopment/TourismResearch.aspx.
For tourism information from the Alaska Travel Industry Association, go to: http://www.tourismworksforak.org/