Tourism cut suffer from budget cuts

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) Tour guides, charters, and other tourism leaders urged the Senate Finance Committee to return $3 million for tourism marketing of Alaska.

    Kelly Bender, of Lazy Otter Charters, said a dollar invested in marketing is returned with interest, "Supporting marketing efforts is not a give away it is essential to the health and welfare of our state."

    $3 million was cut from the budget for tourism marketing in the state.  This would include brochures, TV commercials, etc, that market
    Alaska to other areas of the country and the world.

    Tourism officials are concerned it will cut into the number of people who visit Alaska.

    The impact of the industry is clear, over 2 million visitors last year with an economic impact of over $4 billion.  "Be clear these people didn't magically appear.

    It was through years of a diligent and aggressive marketing program.  This is business 101, you don't take a thriving business and ignore it," she added.

    Alaska is out marketed by every state in the nation in terms of dollars spent. 

    In the current budget Alaska could spend zero for marketing tourism. 

    Serena Hutchison of Juneau Tours and Whale Watching said we can't just rely on cruise ship marketing alone, "I'm asking you to reinvest in Alaska tourism.  Lets not let reality TV be the only people talking about Alaska.  Lets talk about ourselves in a way that is representative of the beauty and the wonderful lifestyle we have here.

    Hutchison said while cruise ships spend big dollars on marketing they like to invest in destinations that invest in themselves.



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