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‘We can welcome travelers safely’: Alaska Travel Industry Association targeting Lower 48 tourists

The mural outside the Alaska Travel Industry Association building in Anchorage.
The mural outside the Alaska Travel Industry Association building in Anchorage.(Taylor Clark)
Published: Feb. 26, 2021 at 7:30 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - If you think you could use a vacation, think about how people who don’t live in Alaska must feel. Through a new marketing campaign, the Alaska Travel Industry Association is attempting to rope in some of those people in the Lower 48 who are ready to start going places again.

Sarah Leonard, CEO and president of ATIA, said while they are working alongside the Alaska delegation and the cruise industry to figure out a way to get some tourists to come to the state by sea, the purpose of the campaign is to get people here through the skies.

She said they’re focusing on the beauty, adventure and wildlife of Alaska but also how much space the state has to have fun while being distanced from other people.

While they convey that message through social media, advertisements and other digital platforms, Leonard said they are also letting people know what they need to do to get here safely under travel rules during the pandemic.

“We are encouraging people to follow the travel advisories that were in place,” Leonard said. “Get pretested before you come, and actually for out of state travelers and residents the test is now free at airports. So the fee has been waived which makes it even easier for travelers to arrive here safely and then travel about the state.”

Leonard said the campaign takes aim at Lower 48 travelers who are comfortable with air travel, so she said they are targeting markets in hub destinations like Chicago and Denver — and they have a multimillion-dollar budget.

Last summer, ATIA did a local travel promotion called Show Up for Alaska where residents could take advantage of discounts and sales for Alaska businesses and travel destinations.

Leonard said people should be on the lookout for deals this travel season.

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