Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/03/1994 02:25 PM Senate L&C
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATOR RIEGER introduced SR 3 (SUPPORT OF ALASKA TOURISM MARKETING COUNCIL) sponsored by SENATOR JAY KERTTULA, and invited his aide, BILL KELDER, to give a sponsor statement. MR. KELDER summarized the sponsor statement saying the resolution calls on the Senate to support the Alaska Tourism Marketing Council, with full funding of the state's share of the council's budget at the previous level. He claims the council has done a lot to stimulate the economy, provide jobs at the local and state wide levels, and is one of the few programs, created by the legislature, that actually provides revenue into the state coffers like the General Fund. He thought it deserved continued support. SENATOR RIEGER opened the committee to questions on SR 3. SENATOR SALO clarified the purpose of full funding. SENATOR RIEGER introduced DENNIS BRANDON, representing the Alaska Visitors Association, on line from Anchorage. Number 401 MR. BRANDON explained since 1975 there has been a cooperative marketing effort to provide a message from Alaska to potential visitors to Alaska. MR. BRANDON said in 1988 this relationship was formalized through legislation of what is now know as the Alaska Tourism Marketing Council, and he praised the council as doing an amazing job in establishing Alaska as a most sought after destination. Since its inception, he said Alaska has seen a steady growth of 8.1% annually over the past three years. He explained this has been done by selective and target marketing which continually changes. MR. BRANDON described the changes in the visitors as seeking more active vacation experiences than in previous years with more traditional tourists. He also described the changes in the variety of experiences presently enjoyed by the tourists and the expansion of the areas enjoyed by the tourists from Southeast up into the Kenai Peninsula and the Interior. MR. BRANDON explained the visitors have enjoyed an expanded season as well as additional interesting and enjoyable places to visit, and he gave the Haul Road and the Aleyska Pipeline as examples. He reviewed the strategic television advertizing in both Canada and the United States, as well as in magazines to reach these potential visitors to all parts of Alaska. He described the special Alaska newspaper sections in major U.S. markets and promotes extensive mail campaigns to motivate prospective visitors. Number 449 MR. BRANDON cautioned the legislators there would be a 50% reduction in funding under the Governor's budget, and he explained this would virtually eliminate the national advertizing. He said it would mean that 66% of the U.S. household will no longer see or respond to Alaska's broadcast advertisements, and the number of all kinds of sales messages will decrease from 780 million to less than 85 million. He quoted some people as saying the tourists will come to Alaska regardless as to whether we advertize our destination or not, but that is not true. MR. BRANDON explained coming to Alaska is not an impulsive decision, and it takes nurturing the idea, sometimes for years, to make it become a reality. He declared it a case of out of sight, out of mind. Without consistent advertizing travelers are not reminded of Alaska, and there becomes no impetus to request information on Alaska for a vacation plan. MR. BRANDON declared the tourism industry not only helps the state diversify its economy, it also helps foster a greater understanding of Alaska. He said the Alaska Tourism Marketing Council is a key component to the continued success of the tourist growth. SENATOR SALO questioned whether there would be assistance from the Department of Revenue. MR. BRANDON said it is a complex issue, but he had been talking to the Attorney General's office, the Department of Revenue, and the Co-Chairs of Finance in both the Senate and House to come up with a long term solution to a complex issue. SENATOR RIEGER said he would hold the bill in committee, and stand in recess to go to the Joint Labor & Commerce Committee.