The TravelAlaska Act: A model for destination marketing funding

The TravelAlaska Act: Senate Bill 110, House Bill 383

Industry leaders began reviewing funding options following language the Alaska State legislature inserted in House Bill 256, the FY17 operating budget (Sec.1, page 6, lines 18-23) that “the tourism marketing board develop a plan to phase out reliance on unrestricted general funds for marketing, moving towards a self-sustaining program funded by industry.”

The process includes two phases:

Phase I: The TravelAlaska Act bill (Senate Bill 110) was introduced in April 2017 which provides a selfassessment framework, a mix of current and new revenue, and could include various tourism industry sectors: accommodations, tour activities, attractions, retail and restaurants. Companion legislation, House Bill 383, was introduced in February 2018. These bills have yet to pass into law by the Alaska State Legislature.

Phase II: The TravelAlaska Act provides only a framework, or a tool for the tourism industry to decide if we want to vote for a self-assessment. If SB 110 passes, then an industry vote may occur. If industry decided to vote for an assessment, a ballot developed by industry could include:

  • A level of assessment (between .5% and 2%) to generate new funds

  • The tourism business sectors that would be voting, and

  • A slate of candidates for the first members of a TravelAlaska Board

  • Those businesses that would be sent the ballot could be based on State business licenses (business codes). Industry would vote as a whole, not by sector. Only those businesses collecting the assessment would vote in the election, and would vote as a whole, not within the sector of the business they represent. The businesses voting may or may not be members of ATIA. ATIA’s membership is separate from any TID assessment as part of the TravelAlaska Act.