Thursday, May 23, 2013
Economic Impact: Alaska Federation of Natives Convention
AFN is the largest gathering of Alaska Natives, but it has also turned out to be the city's largest moneymaker a whopping $7.2 million, according to the Anchorage Convention & Visitor's Bureau.
The Alaska Federation of Natives Convention is the largest gathering of Alaska Natives, but it has also turned out to be the city's largest moneymaker –a whopping $7.2 million, according to the Anchorage Convention & Visitor's Bureau.
About $1.2 million was spent each day during the six-day period that includes not only AFN, but also the Elders & Youth Conference.
As 5,000 AFN delegates gathered to unite, motivate, and dance, the celebration of the annual convention and its economic impact can be felt beyond the doors of the Dena’ina Center.
“It is the largest single convention that we have,” said David Kasser, vice president of tourism development and sales for the ACVB.
Alaska Gourmet Subs, which is located just a few steps away from the Dena’ina Center, benefited from the heavier-than-usual downtown traffic.
“We noticed a huge impact in sales and basically it’s wall-to-wall people when they do come in,” said Alaska Gourmet Subs manager Bryon Mindermann.
But the economic impact of AFN goes beyond restaurant dining and hotel rentals.
“What folks don't always know is the amount of medical, the amount of purchasing of cars and equipment, heaters for the home, and just the regular foodstuff,” said Kasser.
He described the scene of packages as “Christmas-like” because the lines for boxing and shipping were so long, as items make their way to 178 villages.
Many say Anchorage is Alaska's biggest village and this year's convention beefed up its bottom line. Business owners welcomed the new business and look forward to the next time AFN comes to town.
Both Anchorage and Fairbanks have hosted AFN over the years and the ACVB is working to make Anchorage the most attractive site for delegates.
AFN board members have currently only committed to Anchorage for the 2014 convention; 2012 and 2013 are still up for grabs with a deciding vote expected in December.