Patti Mackey, Executive Director, Ketchikan Visitors Bureau
Name: Patti Mackey
Title: Executive Director
Business name: Ketchikan Visitors Bureau
Briefly describe business: We are a destination marketing organization and have been in existence since 1976. We are an independent non-profit. Our mission is to market Ketchikan as a visitor destination and meetings site to enhance the economy of the community and to assist in promotion of events.
When did you first become involved in the visitor industry? I was hired as an interim by the KVB in 1995 to fill in for my predecessor and then re-hired six months later permanently.
How did you get your start with the cruise industry? With the KVB; the bureau was originally established to market Ketchikan primarily as a cruise market. Once the industry was fairly well seated, the decision was made to focus on all travelers. Cruise is a very important part of the industry. It represents 93 percent of visitors.
What’s the best part of your job? I like to tell people that getting paid to talk about the place I live and love isn’t half bad. I like my job because it is a product I believe in. I think Ketchikan has worked hard to cooperate with the cruise industry and make it a great port of call for them.
What’s your favorite cruise passenger story? It is really rewarding when we have cruise passengers contact us before travel and we tell them to come by and say hello and it’s surprising how many come by just for that. You meet all types of people who want to get married while they’re here or celebrate birthdays. It is always a pleasure to help people figure out what to do for their special occasion.
What should Alaska do to better support/protect the visitor/cruise industry? Certainly I think that Ketchikan has never supported the ballot initiative. Our community takes more pride in building the business side of the relationship. We’d like to see Alaska say “yes” more often and not “no, you can’t.”