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Tourism expertise

Ketchikan Daily News, August 5, 2014

Alaska should be getting the most bang for its buck when it comes to tourism.

Gov. Sean Parnell has signed Senate Bill 194, which creates the Alaska Tourism Marketing Board within the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.

This board will consist of industry experts responsible for ensuring Alaska’s money for tourism marketing is spent wisely and effectively. These experts will come from private enterprise, the business folks who put their own financial capital into the industry and are invested in a successful outcome.

Members will include a minimum of 21 members, with 18 members recommended by the Alaska Travel Industry Association, one member from DCCED, one from the state Senate and another from the state House.

Board members will create and execute a destination tourism marketing plan. This plan will ensure that Alaska is effectively competing with other tourist destinations. Every size tourist business and areas of Alaska are expected to be represented on the board.

The formal institution of the board won’t change how tourism marketing is funded. Nor will it create a cost associated with the public members of the board.

But it will help to maintain and grow the second-largest industry in the state, which brought more than 1.9 million tourists to Alaska in 2013. Those tourists translated into $1.8 billion in spending.

That’s success, and the Legislature and governor are prudent in providing for future success by calling on the experts.

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