April 16, 2021
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy today announced an Alaska tourism aid package, including a robust national marketing plan, as the state’s annual $4.5 billion tourism economy is in jeopardy. The announcement was made in a press conference at the Alaska Native Heritage Center surrounded by cultural tourism business owners and is part of Governor Dunleavy’s larger proposal designating federal American Recovery Plan Act (ARP) funds.
“Due to the impact of this pandemic resulting in demand destruction and the decisions by the federal government regarding the cruise industry, we need to aggressively market Alaska,” said Governor Dunleavy. “Alaska is a COVID-safe destination. We lead the nation in all the important health metrics that count. Our response has been top notch and has always put Alaskans first. By assisting our economy in this manner, we would ensure Alaska’s businesses and communities have a future.”
Tourism Marketing Aid:
The economic loss from a canceled cruise ship season alone totals $3 billion annually. While the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) conditional sail order remains, the Dunleavy Administration will focus efforts on attracting travelers to Alaska via other modes. Utilizing funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES), a multi-million marketing plan will place targeted advertisements on national television programs and other means of communication throughout the spring and summer, encouraging Americans to visit Alaska as a COVID-safe destination. Additional CARES funds will be granted to non-profit organizations dedicated to promoting travel to Alaska. The funds have been appropriated by the Legislature to the Dunleavy Administration for response efforts related to the COVID-19 public health emergency, making this an immediate relief plan.
Alaska Tourism Revitalization Plan:
Governor Dunleavy’s Alaska Tourism Revitalization plan proposes allocating upwards of $150 million of ARP funds for the expressed goal of providing relief to communities, cultural tourism businesses, as well as tourism, hospitality, and ancillary businesses throughout Alaska affected by the loss of a cruise ship and tourism season.
The proposal will be submitted to the Alaska Legislature for consideration and collaboration on a final program in the form of an appropriation bill.