Ethan Tyler is owner of Alaska Tourism Solutions, an organization providing sales, marketing, development and communication services for Alaska tourism companies.
When did you first become involved in visitor industry?
I worked my way through college in the visitor industry. I sharpened my skills and finished off my college degree in Aspen, Colo., and headed north shortly after that. I have worked in the Alaska travel industry since my arrival here in 2000.
How did you get your start with the cruise industry?
I started managing the Alyeska Resort front office, which was my first exposure to the cruise industry. Every job that I have had in the industry since then has been touched in some way by the cruise industry.
What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of my job is when I can step away from my desk and see the reaction that visiting Alaska elicits from our guests. It is easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day tasks of a job, but when you can get out and experience how life-altering a trip up here is for most people, it really makes the job more than just a job.
What’s your favorite cruise passenger story?
It was the last cruise ship of the season, and I was with a group of passengers on a tour into Kenai Fjords National Park. The grandparents of this family had saved for years to take their family on this trip, and you could tell how special it was for them. It was a beautiful sunny fall day, and while at Aialik Glacier in the park, a massive calving took place, one that even made me gasp (having seen the phenomenon numerous times myself). I looked over and noted that the whole family was huddled together watching, and everyone from the youngest of the grandchildren, to the eldest of the grandparents had tears streaming down their faces.
What should Alaska do to better support/protect the visitor/cruise industry?
I believe that education is key to supporting the visitor industry. Alaskans in general do not recognize the massive economic impact that tourism has on our state, and it is easy to take that for granted. With a better understanding of how important the industry is to our economy, the public would be more supportive of the industry as a whole.