2022 Letter from the Chair
Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your 2021-2022 ATIA Board of Directors Chair. We’ve accomplished much together, and I am thankful for the support from the entire ATIA Board of Directors and ATIA staff who have given much in time and energy to advance the association through another eventful year for our industry. I thank my colleagues for the teamwork they’ve demonstrated to continue our path to economic recovery.
In the past year, we have done much to advocate for Alaska’s tourism industry. In December 2021, I joined Sarah Leonard for a press conference with Governor Mike Dunleavy as he announced a $10.5 million allocation from the federal American Rescue Plan Act for Alaska, designated for statewide destination marketing efforts. On behalf of our industry, I offer my thanks and appreciation for this funding and recognition of the economic impact of tourism to the state.
With workforce challenges being front of mind for many businesses, ATIA sent letters to our delegation encouraging them to support efforts to re-open our embassies and consulate offices in foreign countries so the J1 student visa application process could get back on track. ATIA’s board worked with staff to launch a months-long social media “Work for Alaska Tourism” campaign, driving traffic to our jobs board, and connecting job seekers with employers.
The new TravelAlaska.com website rollout in January has had an immediate effect on attracting visitors to our state. With Alaska Native greetings and new cultural components integrated throughout the site, our state’s living culture is given a prominent role. The website is fresh and appealing, giving visitors cause to stay on it longer to get their questions answered and to make their travel plans. Kudos to the team for completing this work during the pandemic.
Denali National Park remains one of the top attractions for travelers coming to Alaska. With the Pretty Rocks slide area impacting park access beyond mile 43 of the park road, ATIA has focused attention on the issue. Over the past year, we have partnered with National Park Service leadership to bring first-hand updates on the construction process to our members. ATIA committees and the board has directed advocacy efforts to the National Park Service and US Department of Interior to convey the significance of and urgency to complete this project to support Alaska’s travel economy.
Alaska continues to hold the imagination of travelers, and our transportation systems, tour operators, lodging and dining services have stepped up to meet that demand. Thank you for your ongoing business efforts to create memorable experiences for Alaska’s guests.
- Scott Habberstad, 2021-2022 ATIA Board Chair