Travel Tuesday: Anchorage tourism set to grow in 2019
The new year is projected to see a rise in tourism, which in turn will see job growth in Anchorage's leisure and hospitality sector.
The finding is one of several from last week's 2019 economic forecast prepared by the Anchorage Economic Development Corp. (AEDC). All facets of the Anchorage economy were discussed, from reviewing 2018 to 2019 projections.
The local leisure and hospitality sector did see some downturns last year in the report, including a 1.6 percent fall in room tax revenue for the first half of the year, as well as a decline in spending on conventions and sporting events.
In spite of those numbers, AEDC President and CEO Bill Popp is optimistic for 2019.
"When we look at leisure and hospitality, our tourism industry, (Visit Anchorage President) Julie Saupe and her team gave a great forecast for this year," Popp told a large audience at the Dena'ina Center. "(We) think (the industry's) going to go up a couple hundred jobs here in Anchorage, in the hotel and restaurant sector. That's a positive sign; tourism again (represents) one out of 10 jobs in Anchorage."
Two hundred jobs are projected to be added in 2019 due to tourism. More convention-style events are coming back to Anchorage, including the 2019 National Veterans Golden Age Games, alongside annual economic boosters like Fur Rondy and the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Popp cited a projected 16 percent increase in cruise passenger volume for Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport's state and air carrier expansion, .
AEDC says the airport, the fifth-busiest cargo airport on the planet, is also responsible for one out of 10 jobs in Anchorage. It is a major player as a transportation hub for the North America-Asia trade route.
While Popp referenced the importance of shipping and cargo at the airport, AEDC says Anchorage will also see an increase in passenger traffic due to "cross-gulf" cruise traffic and new international flights planned to begin in 2019, including direct flights to China.
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