>> Sunday, 6 November 2011
Alaska is unique among the 50 states. Some of its traits can be summarized with exemplary titles: America's largest national parks, highest mountain, most public land, lowest population density, largest area. Many people still live off the land. Most of the state is not connected by roads. Bears, wolves, moose, and caribou still freely roam.
For these reasons and many more, Alaska's tourism industry is quickly becoming a key part of the state economy. During the summer of 2007, Alaska saw 1.7 million visitors bring in over $1.8 billion.
Visitors can be divided into roughly two groups: cruise guests and independent travelers
The majority of Alaskan travelers arrive by cruise. Most cruises tour the inside passage with possible stops in Ketchikan, Sitka, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay National Park, Valdez, Seward, Anchorage, and more. These cruises are a great way to see Southeast Alaska and the wide variety of marine animals and beautiful scenery it has to offer.
The other large segment of guests are "independent travelers." Traveling outside of guided groups, these guests tour the mainland as well as marine areas that can't accommodate large cruise ships. Popular destinations for this segment include Anchorage, Denali National Park, Fairbanks, and other large state recreational areas. Transportation is via rental car, motorcoach, train, or air. Often, these independent trips are taken before or after a cruise.
With pristine wilderness becoming increasingly rare in the lower 48 and throughout other parts of the world, Alaska's unique, preserved, beautiful places are becoming increasingly precious. The Alaska tourism industry is here to help the world appreciate the state's unique beauty while keeping its people and economy healthy and secure.