Goodbye Summer, Hello Convention Season
In winter, Anchorage's economy turns from tourism to conventions
ANCHORAGE - The sound of milk being warmed at Kobuk Coffee downtown is the sound of money being made.
Barista Amy Breece isn't too worried about the mass exodus of summer tourists.
“In the mornings I check the marquee across the street at the Egan Center so I can tell if we're going to need to make more soup or sandwiches or more doughnuts for that day,” said Breece.
It's now the season of conventions and meetings.
“Fall, into winter, coming into spring even, is really the time of year when we have a lot more convention business in Anchorage,” said Jack Bonney, public relations manager with Visit Anchorage.
Each year those conventions inject about $94 million into the local economy.
"1,000, 1,200, 1,800 people at a time so that's everything from extra hotel stays here in Anchorage, it's t-shirts, it's meals out at restaurants, it's trips with the Alaska Railroad or flight-seeing,” said Bonney.
One draw is the variety of options for venues.
“There's about 2,000 participants in the conference and so we needed a large space for it,” said Dr. Dorothy Pender, who is one of the organizers of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society conference being held at the Dena’ina Center this week.
The opening of the Dena'ina Center in 2008 made Anchorage much more marketable to larger conference organizers.
“We have chapters all over the U.S., so we have a number of people from Alaska who are here but people are coming up from California and New Mexico and South Carolina and Canada,” said Dr. Pender.
Conventions and meetings booked in Anchorage all the way through 2017.