Wet Weather Changes Where Tourists Spend Their Money
Tourism is up seven percent
ANCHORAGE - Despite a cold, wet July, Visit Anchorage said tourism is up seven percent. People are still booking trips to Alaska, but where they spend their money changes.
“The museum, the Native Heritage Center, coffee shops, restaurants, retail, they're all the big winners. Some of the outdoor activities, the bicycle rentals, flight seeing perhaps, those kinds of activities might see a decline because of the weather,” said Julie Saupe, president of Visit Anchorage.
But the soggy summer means slumping sales for bike rental companies in downtown. Pablo’s Rentals and Lifetime Adventures rely on July to bring in big business. That’s not been the case this year.
“It's disappointing and kind of scary because at the end of the month you still have to pay rent knowing you're not making any money,” said Antonio Portillo, owner of Pablo’s Rentals.
“We do offer people fenders for the bikes and rain gear, if they need to borrow rain gear we'll lend them rain gear and the other thing we do is pre-bookings with groups and there's a lot of fun to be had with biking but it also gets kind of hard too,” said Dan McDonough, owner of Lifetime Adventures.
A little wet weather wasn’t enough to dampen Arthur Hirsch’s New York City spirit.
“I'm 74 years old, I haven't got off a bike since I was about 20 and that's what's keeping me going. Riding a bike in Anchorage has been on my bucket list. Now I can cross another thing off and meet some wonderful people,” said Hirsch, as he eagerly headed to the Coastal Trail.
Other businesses that count on the outdoors, like wildlife cruise companies, said the chilly temperatures haven’t affected their bookings.
“We have travelers coming to visit us from all over the world and residents who have friends and family come up and they usually have a window of time where they can travel. So we have noticed bookings occurring closure to tour departures, but our numbers are still on track with what we scheduled,” said Lisa Kruse, who does marketing and sales for Phillips Cruises and Tours.
Paul Landis, President of CIRI Alaskan Tourism Company, said the Kenai Fjords trips are seeing strong sales as well. “Whales don't care if it's wet or not. They're out there performing as are the seabirds and other animals as well.”
While wildlife might not mind the rain businesses said it would be nice to see some sunshine for more than just a day or two.