Representatives of Alaska’s Tourism Industry Gathered to Talk About Rural Tourism

Aimee Williams presenting at the Marketing Rural Tourism Summit. (Photo by Mitch Borden)

Mitch Borden

People are coming from all over the state to attend the Alaska Travel Industry Association’s Annual Convention and Trade Show in Kodiak this week. It’ll be the first time the conference is held in Southwest Alaska.

Every year a pre-conference summit takes place and the theme this year was marketing rural tourism. Aimee Williams, the executive director of Discover Kodiak, was one of the presenters. She believes tourism is on the rise in Kodiak and that it’ll be an important part of the region’s economy.

“I think tourism is paramount for our future. It’s something we can depend on as a source of income regardless how good our fishing season is or our weather pattern looks like.”

Presenters highlighted the role storytelling plays in tourism and how it’s important for communities to share their history. Visitors are often thrilled to see how Alaskans live and to learn about their culture. This made complete sense to Stacey Simmons, Koniag’s Shareholder Relations and Community Affairs Director.

“Each place, each village, it has a special story to offer and you know we have resources in our villages. We have fish, we have bears, we have guiding, we have all this fun stuff and culture.”

There are lodges in villages across the region, but Simmons thinks if communities continue to grow their tourism industries it could help further develop their economies.

“We want to keep our communities whole. We want to keep people in our villages and how are we going to do that? We have to create opportunities for them or people have to create them for themselves.”

The Alaska Travel Industry Association’s Annual Convention and Trade Show will take place in the Kodiak Convention Center thru October 5th. There is a registration fee to attend.


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