tourism

City of Kenai

Tourism took a serious hit last year worldwide, with travel restricted and people staying home. The Kenai Peninsula got a little bump from in-state travel traffic, but overall, it was still a pretty quiet year here, and many tourism businesses received aid through local programs supported by federal relief funds last summer and fall.

However, in Kenai, the city council thinks the tourism industry has recovered enough where they don’t need help anymore.

Photo: Sabine Poux/KDLL

If you’ve driven through the Kenai Peninsula recently, you’ve likely noticed traffic is back.

Roads are again seeing the traffic they saw in summer 2019, and then some, according to data from the Alaska Department of Transportation.

Outer Coast Adventures

Regulations for halibut charters are looser this summer for the second year in a row. The bodies regulating halibut fishing in Alaska relaxed restrictions on the fleet to again make fishing more appealing to Alaska anglers amid the pandemic.

That was before reservations started pouring in to charter operators.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

Three agencies on the Kenai Peninsula are splitting over $840,000 to market their areas to visitors.

The Homer and Seward chambers of commerce and the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council all received money from the state to advertise to tourists this summer.

Photo: Sabine Poux/KDLL

The western Kenai Peninsula is car territory. Even for locals, a car is pretty necessary to run most errands or to take part in most fishing, kayaking or hiking trails in the area. That’s the case for tourists, too, particularly those who fly here and want to explore the state on their own.

Unfortunately, this year, rental cars are thin on the ground. Really thin.


All communities on the Kenai Peninsula rely on tourism to some extent. But Seward relies more on the cruise industry, which has largely been on pause during the pandemic. The hit was reflected in Seward's sales tax revenue, which dipped almost 35 percent from 2019 to 2020.

Elizabeth Earl

This year has been a rough one for tourism businesses everywhere, but especially in Alaska.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, very few out of state visitors are coming. Alaska relies heavily on them for its summer tourism season. There are only about 731,000 of us, while more than two million out of state tourists arrive every year, the majority of them by cruise ships. But without them, regions of the state are lobbying for those in-state tourists to come and salvage some of the season.   

To require 14 days of quarantine or not to require 14 days of quarantine — that is the question state officials might answer today. While many of the state’s COVID-19 health mandates have been rolled back as Alaska re-opens for business, the mandate requiring arrivals to the state to self-isolate for two weeks is in effect until June 2. That requirement is particularly challenging for Alaska’s tourism industry.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy in a virtual town hall Thursday, said state officials are trying to balance public health with easing impacts to the economy.

“We’re working on some protocols to be able to try to have some outside folks come to Alaska to help with the very business that we’re talking about today that are seasonal, that are tourist-related, fishing-related, etc. We’re going to do our best to this thread this needle where we keep Alaskans safe but also try to get our economy back up off its knees,” Dunleavy said.


 

ECON 919 - Peninsula Tourism

Jul 3, 2019

 

If you hadn’t noticed, they’re here. And with the Kenai river dipnet fishery set to open next week, the flow of tourists through the central peninsula  will get a lot bigger.

 

 


Summer Lazenby, executive director of the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council, and Sarah Leonard, president of the Alaska Travel Industry Association, speak about travel and tourism trends in Alaska and on the Kenai Peninsula.

Tourism exec updates Assembly

Nov 2, 2017
Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council

  On the same night an ordinance to institute a 6 percent bed tax peninsula-wide was introduced, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly heard a report from the executive director of the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council on how they and that industry is doing.

"All signs are pointing to the positive," said an enthusiastic Summer Lazenby. "I can't give an exact tourism update at this point because historically it's been sales tax data that is used to define whether or not it's been a good tourism season or not."