March 12th, 2012
Knowledgeable local guides are the best way to introduce visitors to the community and add incredible value to visitors’ experiences. To increase the number of trained tour guides in our communities, the Alaska Division of Economic Development (DED) and the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) developed the Alaska Tour Guide Training Program (ATGT). This State of Alaska certified training program can help residents get hired as tour guides. It can also help guides build their own tour or start their own tour business, and generate economic activity in their community. ATGT is a 2½ day long course, developed in 2010. DED has scheduled a “Train-the-Trainer” workshop for guide trainers who would like to offer the state-certified ATGT curriculum to train guides within their community or organization.
Alaska Tour Guide Train the Trainer
Presented by the Alaska Division of Economic Development,the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the Alaska Wilderness Recreation & Tourism Association (AWRTA), and Visit Anchorage (ACVB)
Anchorage – April 23-25, 2011 (April 23 & 24 – 9am to 5pm; April 25 – 9am to Noon)
Location: BP Energy Center, 900 East Benson Boulevard
Cost: $100; scholarships available
For more information contact: Odin Brudie, firstname.lastname@example.org, 907-465-5466, or
Dru Garson, email@example.com, 907-465-2162
March 8th, 2012
2012 Sustainable Tourism Conference
AWRTA-The Natural Choice for Alaska’s Future
THURSDAY APRIL 12
8:00am to 8:30am Bagels, Coffee, Registration
8:30am to 9:000am Welcome Address Conference Agenda Overview AWRTA the last 2 years-
AWRTA President (Kent John)
Visit Wild Alaska: benefits & how to look your best on the website
9:00am to 9:30am Adventure Green Alaska: Why certification is important for future business
9:30am to 10:00am Lean & Green: Going green does not have to be expensive (Eric Downey)
10:00am to 10:15am Break
10:15am to 10:30pm Tourism in Alaska- The relationship between AWRTA & ATIA (Kirk Hoessle)
10:30am to 11:15am ATIA Update – Market research on Alaska ( Kathy Dunn, Ron Peck)
11:15am to 12:00pm Travel Research-Information You Can Use Today (TBA)
Who is the Alaska Traveler?
12:00 pm to 1:30pm Lunch & Keynote Address by Charles Wohlforth
The Fate of Nature: Rediscovering our Ability to Rescue the Earth
1:30pm to 2:15pm Sport Fishing Issues (Kent John)
2:15pm to 3:00pm Shared Stewardship of Kodiak Island Wildlife (Larry VanDaele)
3:00pm to 3:15pm Break
3:15pm to 4:00pm To Be Announced
4:00pm to 5:00pm State of AK DECD: Train the Trainer (Odin Brudie & Dru Garson)
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm Evening Reception Photo Presentation by Carl Batreal Chugach State Park
FRIDAY APRIL 13
9:00 am to 9:15 am Welcome Address & Overview of the day AWRTA President (Kent John)
9:15 am to 10:45am Round Table Discussion Paradise Lost: Tourism & Hard Rock Mining
(Moderator: Dan Oberlatz)
10:45 to 11:00am Break
11:00am to 12:00pm Climate change in Alaska and what it means to Kenai Wilderness (John Morton)
12:00pm to 1:30pm Lunch & Speaker: Benefits & Role of citizen Oversight in Economic Development
1:30pm to 2:30pm AWRTA Annual Business Meeting: Contributing to the National Tourism Initiative
2:30pm to 2:45pm Break
2:45pm to 3:15pm Risk Management for your Business (Deb Ajango)
3:15pm to 4:30pm The National Parks Service: The Next Century (Sue Masica)
4:30pm to 5:00pm Conference Wrap-up & networking
September 13th, 2011
On September 14 – 18, 2011, a delegation from Morocco’s Ministry of Tourism will visit Alaska to learn more about sustainability and certification from our very own Adventure Green Alaska (AGA). AGA is Alaska’s only certification program for sustainable tourism businesses and one of only two state-based programs of its kind in the nation. The study tour is being sponsored by the Department of Interior’s Office of International Affairs in Washington, DC. The Moroccans will meet AGA certified businesses, AGA board members, and National Park Service staff in Seward and Fairbanks. The ultimate goal of the visit is to help Morocco develop a more sustainable tourism industry. To learn more about AGA, go to www.adventuregreenalaska.org.
August 24th, 2011
On September 15, 2011, Alaska Conservation Foundation (ACF) will recognize seven individuals and organizations from around the state for their remarkable achievements. This year’s winners are:
* Stacy Studebaker, Kodiak – Celia Hunter Award for Outstanding Volunteer Contributions
* Alaskans for Palmer Hay Flats, Palmer – Lowell Thomas, Jr. Award for Outstanding Achievements by an Organization
* Maka Monture, Yakutat – Denny Wilcher Award for Young Environmental Activists
* Daisy Lee Bitter, Holmer – Jerry S. Dixon Award for Excellence in Environmental Education
* Robert H. Armstrong, Juneau – Daniel Hausberg Wilderness Image Award for Excellence in Photography, Film, and Video
* Dorothy Childers, Anchorage – Olaus Murie Award for Outstanding Professional Contributions
* Caleb Pungowiyi, Wasilla- Outstanding Achievement by an Alaska Native Organization or Individual
ACF will be honoring the achievement heroes at the Alaska Aviation Museum on Lake Hood in Anchorage . The evening will include a cocktail hour reception and dessert provided by award-winning chef, Al Levinsohn, of Bridge Catering (featuring local Alaska foods). The awards presentation will be hosted by Emmy award-winning producer and TV personality, and ACF Trustee, Doug McConnell.
August 1st, 2011
Last April, Representatives Austerman, Chenault, Johnson, Stoltze, Thomas, Peggy Wilson, and Herron introduced House Bill 222, a bill that would establish a multi-industry Alaska promotion and marketing fund and repeal the laws that authorized the Alaska Travel Industry Association’s annual marketing contract with the state.
The new fund would be administered by the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development (DCCED) in consultation with a newly-created “Alaska Promotion and Marketing Board.” It would be used to promote and market industries, including tourism, that broaden the economic base of the state and provide jobs and business opportunities for state residents. Subject to appropriations from the legislature, DCCED would make grants to private entities for projects that further the purpose of the fund. Grant recipients would be required to provide a 30% or 50% match depending upon whether they are from emerging or established industries.
When HB 222 was introduced, it was viewed largely as a conversation starter with little chance of being passed by the legislature. However, now that we no longer have a long-term tourism marketing program, see Big Changes in Alaska Tourism Marketing, HB 222 provides an obvious and needed context for discussing the promotion and marketing of tourism and other Alaska industries. Not surprisingly, there is renewed interest in HB 222 and Representative Austerman expects multiple hearings on the bill.
This one will definitely be worth watching when the legislature returns to Juneau in January.
August 1st, 2011
One of the most significant results of last May’s special session of the legislature is that the Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA) is no longer charged with planning and executing the state’s destination tourism marketing campaign. An amendment to the capital appropriation bill deleted the provision in the operating budget which would have funded ATIA and instead directed a $12 million capital appropriation to the Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development (DCCED) for a destination marketing campaign.
As many of you know, ATIA has had a legislative monopoly on state marketing money for over ten years. This is a pretty sudden change and it will take some time for the dust to settle. In the short term, DCCED is seeking program continuity and may contract directly with ATIA contractors and service providers. The really interesting question is what will happen in the long term. Will the legislature create an official “department of tourism” or will marketing be handled by some form of quasi-governmental entity? Another possibility has been suggested by Representatives Austerman, Chenault, Johnson, Stoltze, Thomas, Peggy Wilson, and Herron who introduced a bill in April that would create a multi-industry Alaska Promotion and Marketing Board.
Whatever happens, you can be sure that AWRTA will be actively engaged and exploring ways to ensure that there is a greater emphasis on sustainability and attracting independent travelers to Alaska. Tourism marketing is an issue in which all of AWRTA’s members and supporters have an interest. If you have thoughts or suggestions on what the next marketing model should be, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll collect the comments and if there’s enough interest, create a committee to develop a “vision” for tourism marketing in Alaska.
June 21st, 2011
In the spring of 2010, AWRTA members Brigid and Harry Dodge of Kodiak Treks were contacted by photographer Kim Hubbard and free lance journalist Ted O’Callahan about a trip to Kodiak Island. The couple arranged a June stay and spent three days with the Dodges at their Uyak Bay camp. This visit resulted in the following news article, which was featured in the travel section of the New York Times in May of 2011:
Brigid eventually discovered it was through the Adventure Green Alaska (AGA) certification program that Ted found Kodiak Treks: searching online for ’sustainable travel,’ Ted came across the Adventure Green Alaska website and then Kodiak Treks, a gold-level certified business.
According to Brigid, the well researched article does a great job of capturing Kodiak Treks’ commitment to a minimal-impact approach to bear and wildlife-viewing. She feels it also lets readers know there are viable alternatives to larger, more commercial tourism programs in Alaska.
The article resulted in thousands of hits to the Kodiak Treks website in the first week alone–proof that the public’s appreciation for responsible travel programs remains strong. AGA, which was created by AWRTA, is aimed at assisting both travelers who wish to identify quality Alaska travel experiences and businesses who want to enhance their sustainable practices well into the future.
For more information about AGA, go to www.adventuregreenalaska.org.
May 6th, 2011
AWRTA is pleased to announce that it has appointed Cathy Hart for a second term as its representative on the Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council (PWSRCAC).
New members may not be aware that AWRTA represents regional tourism interests on PWSRCAC, which was created after the Exxon Valdez oil spill by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. PWSRCAC is a non-profit industry “watch dog” that is committed to promoting environmentally safe operation of the Alyeska Pipeline marine terminal in Valdez and the oil tankers that use it.
Among other activities, PWSRCAC comments on and participates in monitoring and assessing the environmental, social, and economic consequences of oil transportation activities, including oil spill prevention and and response plans and the actual and potential environmental impacts of terminal and tanker operations. The advisory committee is made up of representatives from 19 organizations.
Cathy Hart is a long-time member and supporter of AWRTA. She is an Anchorage-based freelance tourism professional. Cathy is retired from the Alaska Marine Highway where she spent 32 years serving local, commercial, military, group tour, and tourism customers. She is an avid sea kayaker, rafter, skier, and photographer and lives in Anchorage with her husband, Eric Downey, and their two dogs, Sunny and Niki. Cathy has represented AWRTA on PWSRCAC since 2008.
May 2nd, 2011
Dear AWRTA Members and Supporters:
We are writing to thank you for your interest in Tourism and Mining: Opportunities and Risks for Bristol Bay. Unfortunately, mid May is a very busy time for many of our business members and the organizers have made the difficult decision to cancel the conference–at least for now. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
On the positive side, the conference theme has generated a lot of good discussion both within the tourism industry and among other industry groups. Over the course of the next several months we hope to continue the dialogue and perhaps focus this interest in an event this fall when schedules are a little more open.
Thank you for your support and please contact the AWRTA board with any suggestions or thoughts you might have with respect to the future of tourism and mining in Bristol Bay.
For those of you who have already registered, your registration fee will be automatically refunded via PayPal.
AWRTA Board of Directors
April 1st, 2011
In April, the Alaska Division of Economic Development will conduct a “train-the-trainer” workshop for people interested in using the Alaska Tour Guide Training Program (ATGT) curriculum to train new or returning guides within their company, community, or organization.
The ATGT course curriculum provides instruction on the following topics: elements of a successful trip, different learning styles of clients and guests, Alaska’s visitors and their expectations, the art of interpretation or telling a story, principles and techniques for responding when trips don’t go as planned, and more.
- Anchorage: April 14 & 15 – 9 am to 5 pm; April 16 – 9 am to noon. BP Energy Center, 900 East Benson Boulevard
- Juneau: April 21 & 22 – 9 am to 5 pm; April 23 – 9 am to noon. AK Dept. of Education, 801 West 10th – corner of 10th and Glacier
- Fairbanks: April 28 & 29 – 9 am to 5 pm; April 30 - 9 am to noon. Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center - 101 Dunkel Street
For more information or to register, contact Odin Brudie at email@example.com, 907 465-5466, or Dru Garson at firstname.lastname@example.org, 907 465-2162.