Tourism boom projected in Anchorage

Industry professionals cited continued improvement for the tourism sector after years of pandemic-induced slowdowns.
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 7:35 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Visit Anchorage shared its projections for the upcoming tourism season at the Dena’ina Center on Thursday.

The presentation was based on current industry bookings and the industry’s performance in 2022. Visit Anchorage President and CEO Julie Saupe announced that the tourism industry businesses should expect a fruitful season ahead in 2023.

“The appetite for Alaska travel is still strong and Anchorage goes into the year with the biggest and best slate of programs and promotions ever to capitalize on that interest,” Saupe said.

Visit Anchorage estimates that travelers generated more than $49 million in local car and hotel taxes alone.

“All indications are that 2023 will be fantastic as well,” Saupe said.

While the group did not provide any specific dollar projections, it did note the profile of Alaska’s tourists is changing.

“Visitors are more interested in spending money with businesses and in destinations that really put sustainability first,” Saupe said.

Saupe said that the definition of tourist season is also changing.

“In the past year, our biggest growth months were non-summer months, which is great because our goal is to get year-round tourism and expand the season for workers, expand the season for businesses, really smooth out kind of the highs and lows of our season and we’re seeing that happen,” Saupe said.

Cruises are a major pillar of Alaska’s tourism industry. One company observed a growing demand for booking trips a year in advance.

Phillips Cruises and Tours Director of Sales and Marketing Lisa Kruse is looking forward to the year ahead.

“We’re looking at another great year in 2023. The phone has been ringing, the internet bookings have been coming in, and we just see a real positive future for tourism this year in Alaska,” Kruse said.

These pre-bookings provide forecasts for the upcoming year, suggesting how many people plan to visit Alaska. Kruse offered prospective travelers some advice on booking a trip this year.

“Book the things you definitely want to do now,” Kruse said.