May 11, 2010

Tourism is a large factor in Alaska. According to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in the article "Senator Mark Begich promotes Alaska tourism," tourism brings in about $2 billion for Alaska each year. In the Summer I work in Valdez as a crew member for a wildlife and glacier cruise company. I have been working for the same company for the past 5 years, so the impact tourism has had on my employed life is quite large. The article discusses that with the economic decline, tourism is suffering a slide of it's own. To help resolve the problem, according to the article, Senator Mark Begich has introduced a bill. Within the article it is stated that "The Travel Regional Investment Partnership Act would allow the Department of Commerce to create a competitive matching grant program that would award marketing money to hot spots such as resorts and parks." This is good news for hot spots within Alaska, but what about smaller rural areas that still depend on tourism, but are not popular enough to meet the bill's standards? I do think this is a step forward, but I still believe more needs to be done in order to maintain a solid tourism structure throughout all of Alaska.
Although it might be vague in the ways that it applies, I think that the conflict theory could be a factor in the decline of tourism. Tourism is competitive in that it usually consists of companies that offer the same or similar services. For example, there is much competition in the cruise industry. In Prince William Sound alone, there over five companies that offer glacier and wildlife tours within the three larger communities (Valdez, Cordova, and Whittier), and this does not even include the gargantuan cruise companies that enter the area (i.e. princess tours, and holland america). With the money given to the areas considered hot spots, I believe the less successful areas will begin to fall at the hands of those companies that do receive money from the Travel Regional Investment Partnership Act.

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