Meetings home in on marketing Alaska tours

Focus is on transition to new group that will lead Alaska marketing

Posted: Tuesday, February 15, 2000

Juneau is hosting three back-to-back meetings this week on the future of Alaska tourism marketing.

The Alaska Tourism Marketing Council, the public-private arm of the state Division of Tourism, meets Wednesday at the Goldbelt Hotel. The Alaska Travel Industry Association, the new, 1,000-member private-sector group, meets there the next day.

And the Alaska Visitors Association, up to now the group that has led the visitor industry, meets Friday at the Elks Lodge.

The tourism marketing council and the visitors association are scheduled to dissolve June 30, as part of the ``new millennium plan'' approved by the Legislature last year.

The travel industry association then will do all tourism marketing for the state. The group is seeking a $5 million state appropriation and is supposed to find $2 million in private matching funds. By Fiscal Year 2003, the targeted mix is $6 million private, $4 million state.

This week's meetings are largely concerned with the ongoing transition among the organizations, said Tina Lindgren, the former AVA executive director who is now the chief staff person for the travel industry association.

At the same time, a marketing plan for 2001 must be developed and current marketing activities must be sustained, Lindgren said. ``We have to go through a period where it's a little more confusing, rather than less. ... You can't afford to have a hiccup in the marketing.''

John Mazor, president of the Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau, said he's anxious to see a draft of a new marketing plan and hopes that there will be programs with the potential to increase independent travel to Juneau.

``Personally, I would like to have seen a marketing plan by now,'' said Mazor, an AVA board member. ``I would have to characterize it as being a little bit behind schedule.''

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