Dunleavy proposes a federally funded tourism aid package

Gov. Mike Dunleavy is proposing to allocate upwards of $150 million of the state’s American Recovery Plan Act funds on a tourism aid package, including a robust national marketing plan, to boost the state’s ailing tourism economy.

Dunleavy announced the plan to provide relief to communities and cultural tourism businesses, as well as hospitality and ancillary businesses during a news conference on Friday, April 16, at the Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage. His proposal is to be submitted to the Alaska Legislature for consideration and collaboration on an appropriation bill.

Given the pandemic’s impact on the cruise industry, Alaska needs to aggressively market itself, the governor said. The economic loss from a canceled cruise ship season along totals $3 billion annually, he said. Utilizing funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and economic Security Act, a multi-million-dollar marketing plan will place targeted advertisements on national television programs, and using other means of communication, throughout the spring and summer, encouraging Americans to visit Alaska as a COVID-safe destination, he said.