Alaska Tourism, An Industry

by Sheron Patrick | Oct 22, 2019 11:52:15 AM

Convention. Sometimes when I hear that word, I dread it. We
have all been to conventions that were less than enjoyable. I have also been to
a few that had good information; I brought home some great ideas. But very few
do you ever want to go back to again. The one time of year I get excited over the
word “convention” is in the fall. After a long hard summer of showing off our
beautiful state, the folks involved in tourism descend upon either Fairbanks,
Anchorage, somewhere in Southeast Alaska or Juneau for the “Alaska Travel
Industry Association CONVENTION!” The Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA)
promotes Alaska as a top visitor destination, communicating and promoting
Alaska’s tourism industry as one of the state’s major economic forces. ATIA is
the respected voice of the industry: promoting industry growth while caring for
the environment, recognizing cultures, and supporting Alaska’s unique quality
of life.

ATIA’s convention is always the first week in October, just
after the official end of the season which, depending on weather, is usually
the second to third week of September. That gives tour companies, visitors
bureaus, operators and anyone involved in tourism a couple week break before
heading to convention to talk about all things tourism. It’s a chance to mull
over the past season and what’s to come in the months and years ahead.
Convention is a time when businesses reconnect with one another in person. They
may have partnered with each other all year long but have not gotten to see
each other because one business is in Anchorage and one is in Skagway and this
is the time they meet in person to talk about what worked, what didn’t, and how
to make the next summer better than the last.

One of my biggest take-aways this year is ATIA is really
promoting and supporting, “Going Green”. Our delicate welcome bags included a
Kleen Canteen cup with lid; all week convention goers were encouraged to bring
this cup with them EVERYWHERE! Not only did it work as a water/coffee cup but
it even had a rubber grip and carabiner on it so you could clip it to your belt
loop and bring it with you to all the events that happened in the evening as
well.  Sustainable tourism may be defined
as travel to natural areas that is beneficial to local economies, respectful of
the environment and sensitive to indigenous cultures. Increasingly, visitors
seek these types of travel experiences and Alaska is a natural fit. So why not
have your members practice what you are trying to teach and preach right?!

You might ask “Why is the Better Business Bureau at a
tourism convention?” Alaska is the biggest state in the union with tens of
thousands of miles of shoreline, the largest national forest in the nation, the
Tongass, the largest mountain in North America, Denali and over 100,000
glaciers. There are lots of accredited businesses that support Alaska’s third
largest industry, tourism. BBB is proud to support those businesses that
support tourism.

If I only get to go to one convention a year for the rest of
my life, I hope it’s the annual ATIA convention right in my own, big beautiful
backyard of Alaska.

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