We're saddened to learn that Bill Elander, former President & CEO of the Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB, now Visit Anchorage) passed away on Friday, Aug. 28. After suffering a massive stroke a week earlier, Bill was home and in hospice care, surrounded by family. We’d like to extend our deepest condolences to his wife Lynn and their entire family. 


Bill served as ACVB’s CEO from 1988-2000, and is credited with creating Visit Anchorage as we now know it. Bill envisioned Anchorage as a conventions and meetings destination, and he turned that vision into a reality, working to ensure the success of the newly opened Egan Center and convention hotels by creating the sales and marketing capacity to fill them. 


He was an institution unto himself during his tenure at ACVB. He was forceful, assertive, and direct; he was also caring and truly dedicated to the cause of improving and serving our community via a vibrant visitor economy. Those who worked directly with him use words like “tough” and “compassionate” in the same sentence. 


He had a proud military career and served our country honorably as a military pilot and also as a POW during the last year of the Vietnam War. 


His ability to find success in both military and destination marketing careers, to persevere in daunting circumstances, and to leave behind multiple legacies is an inspiring lesson for us all.