JUNEAU (AP) -- The Alaska Travel Industry Association said Thursday it will improve its efforts to market the state as a tourist destination.
ATIA officials said their new plan includes creating a distinct image for advertising Alaska and by being more accessible to people planning trips.
The plan acknowledges increasing competition from remote travel locations and declining growth in the Alaska travel industry. It will include an aggressive program to find potential customers and motivate them to request Alaska trip-planning information, ATIA officials said.
The major components of the plan are consumer marketing, niche marketing, trade and international marketing, inquiry fulfillment and market research.
Eric McDowell of the McDowell Group research firm told ATIA members Wednesday that Alaska showed a significant decline in tourism this year. McDowell's presentation ended with a strong push for marketing, advice taken seriously by the ATIA, the Juneau Empire reported.
''Setbacks are not the best time to pull back on marketing,'' said Kathy Dunn, marketing director for ATIA. ''Most of the companies here recognize that. Some people may scale back, buy an eighth of a page ad instead of a sixth, but businesses understand the importance of marketing.''
ATIA's new marketing plan calls for 10-second television advertisements to be aired on cable networks. It also includes new press kits, an Alaska media road show that will allow ATIA members to meet with national travel writers and a redesigned vacation planner.
The plan also calls for a new logo and slogan. The logo is the word ''ALASKA'' with mountains made out of the tops of the A's, and the slogan is ''Beyond Your Dreams. Within Your Reach.''
The Alaska Travel Industry Association is a statewide, nonprofit organization representing more than 1,000 businesses. It was formed in 2000 as a melding of the Alaska Visitors Association, the Alaska Tourism and Marketing Council and the state Division of Tourism.
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