Alaska tourism officials aim to inspire now, welcome later – Travel Weekly

Renee Brincks

Renee Brincks

In response to travel restrictions, cancellations and closings sparked by Covid-19, Alaska tourism officials are using new tools to inspire potential travelers and fans of the Last Frontier.

The Travel Alaska blog now spotlights various educational experiences, entertainment and other opportunities to engage with the state’s attractions. From links to Denali National Park soundscapes to wildlife images that double as video chat backdrops, the resources are free to travelers — and the travel advisors who serve them.

“We hope they’ll use these tools to inspire travelers’ curiosity,” said Sarah Leonard, president and CEO of the Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA), in an interview last week. “While Zoom backdrops, videos and virtual experiences might be entertainment for now, we hope it gets travelers to ask how they can visit these places in person in the future. Perhaps one video will inspire an entire itinerary for a traveler.”

As operators pause or cancel their 2020 tour offerings, Leonard and her colleagues encourage travelers to postpone trips rather than abandon plans entirely.

“While we are hopeful that we’ll be able to welcome travelers back to Alaska later this year, right now our priority is everyone’s health and safety, and we had to acknowledge the reality that it is imperative to stay home,” she said. “We look forward to working with local, state and federal leaders on the process