Tourism cuts hurting Alaska

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) Alaska Travel Industry Association President Sarah Leonard said deep cuts in the marketing budget is a bad thing for the tourism industry.

    The Alaska Journal of Commerce reported that the tourism marketing program received $16 million in state funding in 2013.  That amount was lowered to $1.5 million in fiscal year 2017.

    There is $3 million in the current budget.  However the legislature has directed the association to wean itself off state support completely.

    The tourism industry has been a bright spot in an otherwise struggling Alaska economy.  There were a record number of visitors, 1.86 million in the state last summer, 1.03 million visited Juneau.

    Currently Alaska ranks 49th in the country, behind only Deleware, in the amount of money they spend on tourism marketing and promotion.  Without television ads, less print ads and no printed vacation planner, Leonard predicted a drop in tourism numbers in the future.

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