Views draw visitors repeatedly

Survey gathers info for best way to market the peninsula

Posted: Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Almost 55 percent of all visitors to the Kenai Peninsula are repeat visitors, according to a tourism survey completed last winter.

The Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council conducted the survey to gather fresh data so it can better market the peninsula, said Shanon Hamrick, executive director of the council. This is the first time this has been done since 1990, she said.

"I was impressed with the number of repeat visitors," Hamrick said in an interview after Tuesday's Soldotna Chamber of Commerce luncheon.

According to Jeanne Camp, economic analyst for the Kenai Peninsula Borough, the council surveyed about 3 percent of tourists who participate in various activities to get results representative of what visitors do.

There were two phases to the project. One phase did in-person interviews with people while they were visiting the peninsula. The second phase was a telephone survey of Anchorage residents' preferences when they visit the area.

Data was broke down by specific regions of the peninsula.

According to the survey, about 20 percent of visitors had California addresses — the highest number. Second place were people with Alaska addresses — just under 10 percent.

"This data is helpful because it helps us know where to spend our marketing dollars and to know who to target," Hamrick said.

The data also can be used to help brand the peninsula and market it as a unified region, and KPTMC can use it to start a tourism awareness campaign and capitalize on Alaska Travel Industry Association money, Hamrick said.

Other data from the survey noted:

n Almost 60 percent of those surveyed in-person who visited the central peninsula will also visit the eastern peninsula, and about 50 percent of those will visit the southern peninsula. About 73 percent of Anchorage residents surveyed visited the central peninsula.

n For people who were interviewed in person, sightseeing was their primary recreational activity while visiting. It also was the number one activity for which they would return.

n For the in-person interviews, the number one planning source for a trip was the Internet.

n About 40 percent of people surveyed in both groups were influenced to visit the peninsula by friends and relatives.

"In the interest of marketing, it's important to not overlook the influence of friends and relatives," Hamrick said.

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