Interior Tourism Officials Expect Average Summer Numbers

The Interior is coming off what’s likely to be a flat tourism season. Official numbers are not in yet, but Fairbanks Convention and visitors Bureau president and CEO Deb Hickock doesn’t expect anything surprising.

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“If we had a little bump it was just a tiny bump and nothing to write home about, so I would say essentially flat,” Hickock said.

Hickok says a trend of declining long haul road traffic likely continued with more people flying north for Alaska travel.  She points to this summer’s hot sunny weather as a plus, but adds the season suffered a late start.

“I know all of us can’t think back that far, but it was a very cold May and operationally, for example for riverboat tours we actually had new ice forming on the river, which was unprecedented, I think,” Hickock said. “But then, I think we regrouped in June, July and August [and] September.”

“People are still coming.”

Looking ahead, Hickok says winter tourism continues to grow in Fairbanks.  She cites recognition in the past year by Lonely Planet, National Geographic and the L.A. Times with helping pump up interest.  Hickok says Japan Airlines, a major conduit for winter visitors, has a robust draft schedule for the upcoming season.