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Changing profile.

"Ecotourism," or "soft adventure," has become the fastest growing segment of the Alaska visitor industry, according to Ray Pedersen, president of the Alaska Visitors Association, an Alaska tourism industry trade organization. He also reports that the average Alaska visitor is getting younger, shifting from 55 years and older to 45 years of age.

Citing these and other changes in the state's visitor industry, Pedersen announced recently that AVA has commissioned a $280,000, year-long study to chart the direction of Alaskan tourism into the 21st century. John Kelsh, a principal of International Tourism & Resort Advisors of San Francisco, Calif., the consortium hired by AVA for the study, says, "These new realities include shifts in age, income, point of origin and length of time preferred by tourists now coming to Alaska."

According to Pedersen, the single most important consideration for the visitor industry is the attitude of individual Alaskans toward tourists. To reflect this concern, the survey will consist in part of public forums to identify and evaluate local and regional ideas for participation. "A visitor anywhere learns in his first half-hour whether he or she is welcome or not," says Pedersen.

Seventy-four percent of respondents to a July survey conducted by Craciun & Associates of Anchorage for AVA disagreed with the statement, "I wouldn't want to see more visitors." Results of the "Survey of Public Attitudes Toward Tourism in Alaska" also showed that 7 out of 10 Alaskans feel tourism is essential to their local economy.

Further, four out of five of the 600 residents polled indicated that they believed tourism would be critical for a healthy economy should state oil revenues decline. Fishing was the only other industry considered as important.
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Tourism; statistics and review of Alaska's travel industry
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Nov 1, 1991
Words:281
Previous Article:Korean investment.
Next Article:Alaska's fishing charters come of age.
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