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Busy Summer Season Only Marred by Seasonal Worker Shortage

Wikimedia Commons/Scott McMurren

Visitors were in greater abundance than summer staff

With winter solidifying its icy grip on Homer this week, let’s take a moment to reflect on what kind of summer our visitor industry had.

“It was a record-breaking year for just about everybody I talked to.”

Brad Anderson is the executive director of the Homer Chamber of Commerce.

“The biggest impact for us was it started early,” he said. “And most people had a record April, record May, June, July, all the way through September. It just stayed extremely strong for everybody. So I think everybody, definitely by the time they got to Labor Day was pretty worn out and then looking forward to the break.”

Anderson said the only thing that held some businesses back was a shortage of seasonal workers.

“An outstanding summer, and you know, the only limitations we really had to fully maximize the potential was just having enough employees to be open the hours they wanted to be open,” he said. “So yeah, it was a great time, and I talked to people coming here to the Visitor Center, and they were so happy to be here in Alaska and especially down to Homer and enjoying everything we had to offer. Just a tremendous tourist year.”

Anderson said indications are that next summer should be good, too.

“We're hearing next year's numbers are going to be pretty much at that level at least again. Early register reservations are extremely strong,” he said. “So yeah, it'll be another busy time for our local businesses.”

Anderson said the Chamber of Commerce will be kicking off its local shopping season the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Stay tuned for details on that in the future.

Jay Barrett, KBBI's new News Director should be a familiar voice to our listeners. He's been contributing to Kenai Peninsula news for the last three years out of KDLL Kenai, and was the voice of The Alaska Fisheries Report from KMXT for 12 years. Jay worked for KBBI about 20 years ago as the Central Peninsula Reporter at KDLL.