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$16 million in state funds for marketing

The FY2013 operating budget signed by Gov. Sean Parnell includes $16 million for the Alaska Tourism Marketing Program. In tandem with $2.7 million in contributions from the industry, a combined $18.7 million represents a 25 percent increase in comparison to FY2012.

“This budget will grow one of Alaska’s largest industries, resulting in more visitors, jobs and prosperity for Alaskans. A level of $16 million from the state and $2.7 million in contributions from the industry allows Alaska to compete more effectively against destinations that have significantly higher marketing budgets, such as Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand,” said Ron Peck, president of the Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA).

In its report to the legislature, the state tourism office listed six major accomplishments during FY2011, including the 2011 Alaska Visitors Statistics program survey (see related stories this issue), and a new customer service training program called Byway Host – hospitality training for frontline employees along Alaska’s scenic byways.

Additionally, the state worked with ATIA to transfer Alaska’s marketing program to the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development.

The state served 8,791 visitors at the Alaska Public Lands Information Center in Tok, transacted $118,075 in Alaska Marine Highway sales and $2,215,890 in Division of Motor Vehicle activities and responded to 870 student inquiries.

It also completed the Alaska Tour Guide Training curriculum and trained 12 instructors in the program, which is intended to increase the number of local guides working in rural Alaska.

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