Travel Tuesday: Visit Anchorage 2019 report shows tourism increase
Visit Anchorage says 2019 was a banner year for the city's tourism industry.
The organization is releasing a comprehensive report on last year's industry performance with a look at what to expect in 2020.
On Tuesday, Visit Anchorage CEO Julie Saupe gave a preview of their "Report to the Community."
“2019 was an exceptional year and as we went through the year, we thought it was shaping out to be, but now we’ve got some good numbers to show that it was," she said. "Both summer and winter, we saw growth in 2019.”
Saupe says that is due in part to more cruise ship capacity and more available seats on flights to Anchorage. She expects similar trends this year.
Saupe also touted state data showing that leisure and hospitality jobs in Anchorage hit a record last year, as the tourism industry accounts for 1 in 9 jobs in Alaska's largest city. She added that local hotels performed above the national average in terms of room demand, generating $300 million in revenue.
“Some of the taxes that are generated, a little less than a third of the taxes, are reinvested into marketing so that we can continue growing tourism in Anchorage," Saupe explained.
She says estimates show $38 million in hotel and car rental taxes were collected by the municipality in 2019, with visitors spending roughly $200 million in Anchorage.
According to Visit Anchorage, marketing and advertising efforts in domestic markets are critical to tourism success and growth. Saupe says winter leisure travelers are the target right now and that's partly because of the efforts by local businesses.
“Over the last, I would say, three to four years we’ve really seen local tourism businesses staying open longer and then offering very specific winter product to travelers," she said. "And now we’ve been able to get that information into the market.”
In terms of what this new year will bring, Saupe says her outlook is optimistic and the industry is confident about this year.
"As long as the domestic, national economy stays strong, I feel like we're on really solid footing going into 2020,” she said.
Visit Anchorage's report is scheduled to be released this week.
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