THE VISITOR SEASON has arrived! Cruise ships now tied up to the docks daily in our downtown area. The skies overhead are often filled with the varied sounds of aircraft taking guests on once-in-a-lifetime adventures in our backyard. It is difficult to be in any area of our town without seeing some effects of the many visitors to our community. My first summer in Alaska and many more were made possible by the strong visitor economy that exists in this state. My partner also spent many years in the guests and hospitality economy that supported our way of life. For these strong connections to our history the summer visitor season is a time of year that we appreciate.
Just hangin' out on Mendenhall Glacier...
Our oldest son has had exposure to cruise ships since the first months of his life and he prefers to call them “rocket ships.” Although we have had many frustrations with many of the visitors that we have experienced over the years we never cast them in a negative "ugh tourists" light to our boys. For the most part we have many reasons to enjoy and celebrate the visitor industry that affects so many Alaskans in various ways.
Here are 4 reasons to appreciate and welcome visitors to our state.
1. Economic boost. Visitors are renewable resources that leave money in our state supporting local businesses, families, and municipality sales tax.
2. Unique seasonal opportunities. There are restaurants, visitor centers, and tours that are only available during the visitor season that our family can enjoy as well. Many of these opportunities would not be possible and/or affordable for our family without the tourism infrastructure.
3. Reminder of privilege. Every guest that I see in our community reminds me how much people seek Alaska’s grandeur, beauty, and uniqueness. I use this as a reminder of how privileged we are to be able to call this state home and truly experience what this state has to offer.
4. Showing our best. There are many misconceptions about Alaskans. I value the exercise and investment that many people undertake to journey to the state. I know their experiences can give them a better perspective of who we are and what we value.
Visiting the hatchery in Juneau
We are a family that prioritizes travel and new experiences. We strive to treat the visitors to our community with the friendliness and respect that we hope to find when we leave the comforts of the 49th state. Perspective and comparisons for us are valuable along with the experience of travel itself.
Today we set-out for the lower 48 in the quest for warm sunshine and some quality family time together! We hope to be welcomed and appreciated as visitors in another state.