Tourism season has kicked off in Alaska and it’s projected to be a record-breaking year. The cruise ship passenger numbers are forecasted to top one million again this year and there are several other reasons why the season will be a memorable one. To stay ahead of the tourism season, T&C pinpoints the big trends to keep an eye on. Here are just a few Alaska tourism trends for 2018 and beyond.
Multigenerational travel: Admittedly this isn’t new, but it’s only getting stronger. This trend is where family members of all different ages, travel to a destination together and utilize each member’s interests to tailor that vacation to something that is memorable for the entire family. This trend is not a one-size-fits-all approach. In fact, it’s the opposite. Different generations of a family travel together and make sure they book experiences that all members will enjoy plus choose some experiences that are tailored to each different generation. Families can choose to split up or experience these trips all together. For example, a family might book a trip on the Alaska Railroad but choose different activities; some family members might choose to take a bus tour into Denali National Park and Preserve for a chance to see wildlife, while others might decide to book a zipline excursion through boreal forest and over tundra. After the day adventure of their choosing, the entire family comes back together and shares stories of their trip.
Sustainable travel: Alaska has been gaining traction in this sector since 2009 with the creation of Adventure Green Alaska. AGA is a volunteer organization highlighting businesses that practice sustainable tourism. Sustainable tourism is about being respectful to the economy, indigenous cultures as well as the environment. Responsible travelers can find various operators that fall under the Adventure Green Alaska umbrella to make sure their trip is both memorable and makes a positive impact on Alaska as a destinations. A T&C client under the AGA certification is Major Marine Tours. This month, the operator unveiled a new vessel – the Kenai Fjords 360. The catamaran is powered by fuel-efficient and low-emission engines to help the operator focus on its major priority of environmental sustainability. Passengers onboard with Major Marine Tours can experience Alaska’s marine life in Kenai Fjords National Park and Prince William Sound and also know they’re utilizing an operator that cares about keeping the seas clean for future generations.
Peak season in the winter: Travelers often come to Alaska to experience its 100,000 glaciers, wildlife and midnight sun. But more and more people are considering Alaska for its winter activities like northern lights chasing and dog mushing. So while Alaska is consistently a top destination in the summer, it is quickly becoming a popular one in the winter as well. Alaska’s expansive and unobstructed dark skies make it the perfect place to see the northern lights. Another T&C client, John Hall’s Alaska, is already planning its 2019 excursions to make sure visitors have a cool experience and ample time to chase the lights. The “Alaska Winter Wonders” and “Iditarod Aurora Adventure” will both now include two adventure-filled days and long nights at Borealis Basecamp. Guests will be treated to a guided mushing tour in the day and nights spent looking for the aurora in a glass-ceilinged, igloo-style yurt.
Whether you choose to visit the Last Frontier with family or during the winter or you want to make more sustainable travel decisions, Alaska has something for everyone. If you need more resources for the best times to visit Alaska (or travel in your own backyard), be sure to check out this guide by Travel + Leisure. Or head over to TravelAlaska.com to research what you can do in each of the five regions of Alaska as well as recommendations for trip planning resources. Happy travels from T&C!