Tourism Matters For Anchorage

Tourism Employs – 1 in 9 Anchorage jobs is in tourism.

Tourism Sustains – Each year, travelers contribute $32 million in local hotel and car rental taxes to the Municipality of Anchorage.

Tourism Provides – Visitors spend $297 million in Anchorage annually, on top of what they pay for a cruise or airfare.

Tourism Improves – Visitation helps expand the number of cities connected to Anchorage by airlines, and helps local businesses – from restaurants to retailers and beyond - rise, thrive, and expand.

Tourism Connects – Tourism links Alaskans to the globe, sharing our stories, traditions, and lifestyles and discovering those of others.

Frequently Asked Questions About Anchorage Tourism

How does tourism benefit the community?
Tourism generates thousands of Anchorage jobs, brings $297 million in annual direct spending, $32 million every year in local tax collections, and improves quality of life for residents and visitors alike.

The money invested into our local economy by visitors circulates throughout our economy several times over, providing an ongoing economic impact that would disappear entirely without tourism. Tourism also jumpstarts a “virtuous cycle.” Creating a place people want to visit creates one that people enjoying living in, and – by extension – one that businesses want to establish a presence in.

For a more detailed look at how tourism is shaping up this year, view the 2019 Report to the Community, presented Jan. 17, 2019.

Does it benefit business other than hotels, restaurants, and attractions?
Hotels, tour companies, and restaurants all benefit from visitor dollars, but tourism has benefits for other business as well. After all, each of those businesses needs to manage the books, keep uniforms clean, find ingredients for the menu, or maintain a vehicle fleet ready for the road. From car repair to construction and farming to finance, there are some surprising secondary benefits from tourism.

Likewise, employees in the tourism industry use their wages to make purchases throughout the city. Even though a business may not think of itself as benefitting from tourism, the indirect benefits of tourism impact nearly every type of business in our city. Induced spending – things like tourism employees’ personal buying of goods and services – adds even more economic and employment benefits.

What kind of jobs does tourism create?
You might think first of registration desk staff and housekeepers, but may not notice the supervisors, accountants, sales staff, meeting and event managers and marketers that work in a hotel or resort. We see wait staff, bartenders, and cooks but don’t notice the team of executive chefs, group sales managers, and maintenance supervisors needed to run a restaurant. Tourism jobs are diverse, and account for 1 in 9 jobs in Anchorage.

Tourism jobs have grown steadily in Anchorage, even in recent years when other sectors faced headwinds.

Companies love to hire employees from the travel industry thanks to the skillsets they learn: customer service, communication skills, teamwork, and conflict resolution. The U.S. Travel Association estimates that nationally, two out of five workers who start their careers in the travel industry go on to earn more than $100,000 per year.

How can we encourage people to visit?
Destination marketing is our community’s way of elevating Anchorage to a national and world stage. Visit Anchorage’s destination marketing programs are funded by a portion of hotel bed tax collections. In essence visitors are the ones paying to attract the next crop of visitors.

What do residents pay to promote tourism?
They don’t. Tourism promotion is funded by hotel taxes paid by visitors. Membership dues and advertising payments by tourism businesses also provide a modest portion of tourism marketing funds. Anchorage residents don’t pay any taxes to promote tourism.

With our glaciers, wildlife and natural beauty, why do we need to promote tourism? Wouldn’t people come anyway?
We live in an amazing place, but that doesn’t mean anyone is naturally inclined to visit. In a wide world of wonderful destinations, attracting travelers is a big business. Visit Anchorage has to inspire people to travel, make travelers aware of what the destination offers, explain how we’re in reach, and make the case for why it’s worth adding more time once they do decide to visit.

Tourism is a crowded, competitive marketplace, and without a coordinated, collective approach to marketing, other places would happily draw our visitors away.

What other benefits do residents receive from tourism?
Taxes paid by tourism help fund infrastructure improvements, public safety, and most other programs. A third of bed tax collections go into the municipal general fund. Residents would need to pay more for these services without tourism’s contribution.

How can I help?
There are three big ways you can help:

Invite your friends and relatives to visit. Word-of-mouth recommendations from family and frineds are still the most trusted, most used, most important sources of travel information. You can help inspire the next trip to Anchorage.

Explore your own backyard. Alaska isn’t just for visitors. Get out and enjoy the opportunities others wish they had. It’s a big place; bet you haven’t seen it all.

Share the value of tourism with friends and neighbors. Locals keep tourism strong, and help sustain destination marketing programs. Together we can strengthen the economy and make our community better.