Visit Anchorage recapped 2022 for local travel and tourism and presented an outlook for the industry in 2023 and beyond. The Report to the Community is an annual overview of tourism results, upcoming destination marketing initiatives, and insights on evolving consumer desires.
2022 Builds on Momentum
More than 1.8 million people passed through the Anchorage airport, an increase from 2021 and just shy of all-time highs.
Southcentral cruise returned after a two-summer hiatus. More than 300,000 passengers took trips that included the ports of Seward and Whittier.
Meetings, conferences, and events returned in force. The estimated economic impact in the community from meetings topped $80 million, approaching historic norms. The Anchorage Convention Centers welcomed more than 232,000 guests in the year.
Hotel demand increased 6% year over. The performance hints at increases to length of stay for visits to Anchorage.
Hotel bed tax collections for the year are expected to reach $39.5 million, with $10.8 million in local car and RV rental taxes. Bed taxes help fund local services, with a third of collections going to the general fund, a third reinvested in tourism marketing, and a third going to operations and maintenance of the convention centers. For more 2022 results, view or download Visit Anchorage's summary.
2023 Could See Further Gains
Anchorage will likely see similar levels of airline service and capacity again in 2023.
Cruise capacity for Southcentral Alaska is set to increase.
Anecdotally, many tourism-focused companies report stronger advance bookings for 2023 than in the year prior. Business confidence is high.
Opportunities for the Future
The presentation also explored broader themes that will be important to the industry, including prospects for Anchorage travel in the face of an uncertain national economy, an updated portrait of likely Anchorage travelers, workforce challenges and solutions, improving the experience in the destination for travelers and residents, and opportunities for future tourism product development.
Visit Anchorage President and CEO Julie Saupe also highlighted public and private investment across the community as a signs of progress on quality of life improvements that benefit residents and visitors, touching on downtown code improvements, funding for trails, new restaurants, and redevelopment projects among others.
“Building a better place means a more enticing Anchorage vacation, but also a better life for those of us living here,” said Saupe. “It means more kids staying here after graduation or coming home for a job, an easier pitch for a conference, or a work-from-anywhere setup in our town, a no-brainer decision for a company to relocate, open another office location, and put down roots.”
Visit Anchorage Gears Up for Marketing and Promotions
With a new multiyear strategic plan and $9 million in promotions for 2023, Visit Anchorage programs and promotions are well prepared to attract the next generation of travelers. With robust marketing and advertising campaigns, expanded sales efforts in front of meeting planners and travel advisors, and work to improve and expand on Anchorage.net and shared media platforms to name a few.
“Our investment has paid returns, and that gives us more money to dedicate to marketing,” said Saupe. “We’re holding costs in check, and we'll be able to realize other operational savings going forward.”