Tourism

Small tour company decides expansion can wait

Jun 22, 2020
Seldovia Nature Tours

The tourism season for summer 2020 was, as we keep hearing, supposed to have been a record breaking one for Alaska’s visitor industry, with untold numbers of Outsiders arriving by RV, plane and cruise ship. And in preparation, were hundreds of businesses ready to show them a little piece of Alaska.
    Of course most of those Outside visitors will not show up this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the local tourism industry is scrambling to shift gears to attract other Alaskans to the Kenai Peninsula in order to help save the season.

Renee Gross, KBBI News

Summer is coming to an end, and Homer’s seasonal shops are closing down. Signs point to a strong summer season for tourism-related businesses but fishing charters say they’ve seen better.  

 

 

Indira Mukambetova owns the the boutique clothing store Better Sweater and Spit Licks ice cream shop on the Homer spit. This year, she’s closing up earlier than usual.  

“It was great," she said. "I sold out everything, almost.”

 

Photo KBBI Database

Homer has a housing problem. Like many rural Alaskan communities, finding a place to live can be a challenge. But the growing tourism industry may be making it more difficult for year-round residents to find long-term housing. With just a handful of hotels in town, visitors have been relying on Airbnbs and other vacation rentals. That demand may mean fewer rental options for Homer residents to choose from.

 

Photo KBBI Database

State spending on tourism marketing has been slashed roughly 80 percent in recent years. But the Alaska Travel Industry Association thinks there’s a way to boost the amount of dollars spent advertising Alaska as a destination. It wants to create a Tourism District Industry, which would allow the industry to charge tourism-related businesses a tax that would go towards marketing. The CEO of the association pitched the idea last week in Homer. But the idea may be a tough sell for some in one of the state’s top destinations.