Lifelong resident to share love of peninsula with visitors

Posted: Wednesday, May 04, 2005




Shanon Hamrick was tickled when she successfully taught her two children, both age 10, how to ski earlier this winter.

The lifelong Kenai Peninsula resident loves teaching people how to enjoy the peninsula so much that she does not stop with her children.

"We spend our summers camping," she said. "We're all over the place."

Hamrick is training to become executive director of the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council and will officially assume her position June 1 to help promote the entire peninsula.

KPTMC is a destination marketing organization aimed at marketing the peninsula.

Hamrick said jokingly that as a child she wanted to move to New York. An avid skier, her true wish was to move to Girdwood to become a ski instructor, but she came to the realization along the way that she really loved living on the peninsula.

"The Kenai Peninsula en-compasses the best that Alaska has to offer," Hamrick said. "I think it's the most beautiful place on Earth."

She said she wants to help visitors understand that, as well.

Hamrick started her career in the tourism industry three years ago working for the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce. She said she enjoyed spending time with the tourists who came through town.

In her new job, she said her goal is to help pull all the communities on the peninsula together to market the entire region. Each community has something special to offer, she said, adding that each one also has its own marketing efforts. She hopes to encourage everybody to pool their resources and work to collectively attract people by branding the entire region.

"We need to start working to get the same message out about the Kenai Peninsula," she said.

For this to work, Hamrick said communities need to buy into the concept of branding the region.

There has been growth in the tourism industry in recent years amidst troubles in other sectors of the economy, she said.

"Tourism on the peninsula is a sustainable resource," she said. "It can only get bigger and better."

Outgoing Executive Director Aud Walaszek said Hamrick is the best fit for the position.

Walaszek is moving to Farmington, N.M., where her husband will start a new job.

Hamrick has a passion for the tourism industry and all areas of the borough, she said. The incorporated and unincorporated will benefit from that, Walaszek said.

"(Hamrick) is ready to take KPTMC to the next level with the team we've built," she said.

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