At its regular meeting last night, the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly granted Discover Kodiak money to support general operations and two special projects, but some assembly members questioned whether or not money from the tourism fund might be more evenly doled out.
Discover Kodiak provides destination marketing and tourism development for the city and borough. Executive Director Chastity McCarthy spoke before the assembly last night and explained the organization’s role in building revenue for the community.
“Our job is to make sure that any visitor that steps foot on Kodiak – convention, in-state, out-of-state, – our job is to make sure that their experience here is good so they go sell Kodiak. So, it doesn’t matter how we do that as long as we’re making sure that the people who leave here are advocates of Kodiak.”
Discover Kodiak had already been budgeted to receive $75,000 in funds, and last night, the assembly talked about an added $20,000 of funds for two separate projects: developing tourism in the villages and hosting expeditions for members of the travel industry before a conference in Anchorage.
Assemblymembers Kyle Crow and Dennis Symmons, both new to the assembly, expressed concern that not all of the tourism-related organizations in town were benefiting from the tourism fund.
Other assembly members took the opportunity to defend Discover Kodiak’s role, like Assemblyman Larry LeDoux.
“We talk about fisheries a lot in our community, but all you have to do is to go to the airport or see these tour ships coming in to understand the role that tourism is starting to play in the economic engine of our Kodiak. And we can fund museums and we can fund touch tanks, and we can do all those, but if nobody comes to see them, it really doesn’t work. We have to convince people to come to Kodiak.”
Assemblywoman Rebecca Skinner called the assembly’s attention back to the matter at hand, which was not the established funds, but rather funds for the additional projects.
The main motion, which would grant Discover Kodiak an overall $95,000 in funds, carried 5 – 2 with Skinner and Symmons against.