Shanon Hamrick, new executive director for the Kenai Peninsula Tourism & Marketing Council.
A popular Visitors Services Coordinator at the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce and a life long resident of the Kenai Peninsula is taking over the reigns of the Kenai Peninsula Tourism and Marketing Council (KPTMC). Shanon Hamrick. "I'm thrilled to be here. No one was anticipating Aud's leaving, she has done such a fantastic job the last two years and everyone was sorry to see her go, but when the opportunity opened up I felt it was a perfect fit for me being involved in advertising and tourism and I'm very excited about the opportunity," Hamrick told reporters. Aud Walaszek is relocating with her family to New Mexico where her husband is starting a new job.
As Alaska anticipates what could be the largest tourist season in history, the KPTMC is focused on making the Kenai Peninsula a specific destination for those visitors. Already the KPTMC has sent out thousands of their popular Discovery Guides to interested visitors, "Actually we are almost out of guides already this year because we have had such a huge number of inquiries," said Hamrick. The guide includes a free map of the Kenai Peninsula with destinations clearly depicted. Additionally Hamrick says the KPTMC will be concentrating on attending trade shows that individuals cannot afford the time to attend and is partnering with Kenai Wild this year at the Kenai Wild Saturday Market in Anchorage to promote travel destinations on the Peninsula. The two efforts share a common goal of branding. "We need to brand the entire region. We've been working closely with the Alaska Tourism Industry Association to separate the Kenai Peninsula from the South Central distinction. This year we'll have a separate section in the ATIA Guide that will give the Peninsula from Seward to Homer its own distinction as a travel destination," said Hamrick.
An avid skier, and a member of the graphics committee for the 2006 Kenai Peninsula Arctic Winter Games, Hamrick's goal is also to promote the Kenai Peninsula as a year round travel destination. In her new job Shanon hopes to pull all the communities of the entire Kenai Peninsula together to market the entire region.
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