ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The upcoming annual meeting of the Alaska Federation of Natives is expected to bring as much as $4 million to Anchorage businesses.
The event -- held at the downtown Egan Civic and Convention Center -- is the state's largest convention, attracting several thousand people from around the state.
It kicks off Monday (Oct. 21) with the three-day Youth and Elders Conference, which is expected to draw 1,000 participants, said Nance Larsen, an Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau spokeswoman. That event should have an estimated economic impact of about $839,000, Larsen said.
The AFN convention Oct. 24-26 is expected to attract 3,500 participants who could spend roughly $3.3 million during the Anchorage event, Larsen said.
Sharing the culture of Alaska Natives is another result of the convention, she said.
AFN convention delegates also conduct other business during their Anchorage visit, including trips to the city's retailers. The timing is good, with the convention taking place just after the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend payout.
Convention delegates and other Alaskans spending their dividends produce significant traffic at the Anchorage 5th Avenue mall. It's difficult to decipher how the convention increases traffic counts at the mall, said manager Gary Wells.
''I think it's something all of downtown views as a pretty busy time of the year,'' Wells told the Alaska Journal of Commerce. ''All the businesses look forward to it.''
Alaska Mining and Diving Supply Inc. of Anchorage also sees an increase in customers visiting the store during the convention, according to sales manager Chuck Maas.
''We do a tremendous amount of shipping to rural Alaska,'' Maas said. ''We have a lot of customers we see once a year when they visit Anchorage.''
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