Alaska Tourism Improvement District
A tourism improvement district or TID is similar to a business improvement district, including businesses that are assessed for the improvement of an outlined jurisdiction. TIDs are occurring around the country at local and regional levels and most recently in California at a statewide level to fund tourism promotion efforts.
The Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA) Board of Directors and industry partners began discussing the idea of an Alaska statewide TID earlier this year. The discussions began as the legislature and Governor were challenged by a state fiscal environment and Alaska tourism marketing dollars were being cut from the state’s operating budget. Alaska’s tourism marketing program was allocated $1.5 million in 2017, significantly reduced from previous levels of $10-$18 million.
A statewide or Alaska TID could be created by state statute and would identify a voluntary level of assessment or fee for industry businesses to pay into a fund for Alaska tourism marketing. While Alaska’s Constitution does not allow for dedicated funds, creating an industry self-assessment model through a TID allows the legislature and Governor a way to allocate an investment in tourism marketing.
The way it works: Industry pays an assessment which is collected by government. Funding is allocated for tourism promotion. The tourism marketing efforts are governed by and benefit those who are assessed and can be managed by an existing industry association. Payors can also vote to disestablish the assessment. While Alaska’s Constitution does not allow for dedicated funds, creating an industry self-assessment model through a TID allows the legislature and Governor a way to allocate an investment in tourism marketing.