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Businesses see early uptick in tourist numbers

Video by: photojournalist Aaron Weaver
Article by: Beth Verge

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) – Lots of people have already started filing in from all corners of the world to get their taste of an Alaskan summer.

Many come by cruise ship, but it’s when visitors touch land that they arrive at the main attraction.

As for those who visit Anchorage, some see the town by foot, others by bike and still others by trolley. Like many businesses in town, one of those trolley operators said this summer looks to be a promising one.

“It’s their vacation,” said Cyrus Aldeman of Anchorage Trolley Tours. “We just came to be a part of it.”

Alaska reportedly saw an estimated 2 million tourists from May through September of 2016 alone. This summer could prove even busier.

“Based on all the numbers everyone’s been expecting, we’re either going to be around the same or – hopefully – even a little bit better,” Aldeman said.

The family business began in 1995. But, Aldeman said, you don’t have to be visiting to play tourist for a day.

“It’s literally the best job in the world,” he said. “We get to meet with people, interact with them, learn their different cultures.

“And that gets people out and exploring their town, finding little Easter Eggs throughout Anchorage, and all the little fun facts.”

Erin Gallagher of Cake Studio said she’s already seen good numbers when it comes to how many people have already visited the boutique shop in downtown Anchorage.

“We’ve seen an uptick already,” she said. “When cruise ship groups arrive, we see hundreds of people in here. I’m looking forward to it being busy and seeing everybody.”

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