Fairbanks tourism industry optimistic after reports of increased summer travelers

The Fairbanks tourism industry expresses optimism for the 2021 summer season as more travel...
The Fairbanks tourism industry expresses optimism for the 2021 summer season as more travel capacity opens up.(ktvf)
Published: Mar. 26, 2021 at 4:21 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Fairbanks tourism industry is feeling optimistic these days, after reports have indicated growth in the number of travelers headed to Alaska this summer.

The industry experienced a difficult year during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic according to Deb Hickok, CEO of Explore Fairbanks.

While the industry is optimistic, it will take some time for it to fully recover according to Hickok. She explained, “A lot of our winter operators have seen an increase in visitors, certainly not to previous levels which were record breaking. We hope that that trend continues into the summer tourism season. We’re guardedly optimistic, you know, it’s been such a devastating time for the travel and tourism industry. The airport itself has seen a 59% decline in 2020 from 2019. We’ve seen a 55% decline in hotel/motel taxes. So, yeah I think we’re optimistic; but most economists whether it’s national or in-state say it’ll be 2024 before the tourism industry recovers. I think we’re all hoping because of the increased vaccinations and marketing we’ll be able to accelerate that recovery.”

With increase in vaccination rates and talk of increased traveling this summer, the tourism industry is preparing to provide for travelers looking to experience Alaska.

We’re heartened for this opportunity to have additional lift - gives a lot of options for our potential guests, and it’s a big boost of optimism,” Hickok remarked. “We are in a very fluid environment and I think all of us know that it continues to be that way. But national data... and also we had some research done for Fairbanks and there’s a lot of positive attitude among American travelers that they want to get out and explore wide open spaces - and that’s really a key selling point that we have, and we’re talking about right now as we speak,”.

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