Story last updated at 7/15/2009 - 11:33 am
An Economic Summit on Tourism in Southeast Alaska will be held on Friday, July 24 from 1- 6 p.m. at the Juneau Arts and Cultural Center. The summit is being hosted by the First Things First Alaska Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to addressing the growing threat to the economic viability of Alaska. Participation in the summit is by invitation only. However, there will be limited seating for the general public to come and observe on a first come first served basis. The general registration fee to help defray the cost of the event is $25 per person.
Panelists are from all over Southeast Alaska, including Lorene Palmer of the Juneau Convention & Visitors Bureau; Rick Erickson and Bob Berto from Ketchikan; Don Habeger, long time tourism advocate; Steve Hites of the Skagway Street Car Company; Patti Mackey from the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau; and Ron Peck from ATIA (Alaska Travel Industry Association).
They will present information on current and future economic impacts of tourism related to their areas as well how the downturn in cruise ship visitors and independent travelers are affecting them. At the end Peck will discuss the economic downturn in tourism throughout the Alaska in 2009 and predictions for 2010 and beyond.
It is anticipated that the discussions may center around the loss of revenue to individual communities, declining employment opportunities, negative effects on businesses, effects on the visitors themselves, as well as effects on Alaska residents.
After the panel presentation and initial discussions the invited participants from all over Southeast will then discuss the important topic of where tourism and its related industries "go from here." Moderator Murray Walsh will facilitate these discussions.
A steering committee for the summit has been established and they hope that this summit will be the start of positive effective action on the part of the tourism and tourism related communities.
Invitees include the Governor and Lt. Governor, Commissioner of Commerce, Southeast legislators, mayors and assembly members from throughout Southeast, economic development interests, and chambers of commerce and convention and visitors bureaus.
Also included are tourism related businesses throughout Southeast including tour operators, restaurants, hotels, lodges, charter operators, retailers, airlines, banking, and industry groups, to name a few.
As of July 13, over 100 participants had RSVP'd, and still more are expected to attend the summit.
For more information about the summit, e-mail PeggyAnn at PeggyAnn@FTFFoundation.org or call her at (907) 723-8642.