Alaska set a new record of 1,857,500 million out-of-state visitors from May to September 2016, according to the latest data from the Alaska Visitor Statistics Program 7 (AVSP 7), the most recently released report by the Alaska Tourism Industry Association (ATIA) and Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development (DCCED). This sets the record for visitor volume since the AVSP began in 1985, and it marks a 4 percent increase from the same period in 2015, officials said.
In summer 2016, Alaska visitors spent an average of $1,057 per person on their trip, which shows a 4 percent increase in spending from the previous year, according to the report. Spending a total of $1.97 billion in the state last summer, tourist spending was up 31 percent from 2011. The significant economic growth is representative of an increase in per-person spending as well as the growth in visitor volume.
A large portion of the bump can be attributed to an increase in air volume, which went up by 6 percent, the report said. Cruise ship passengers still make up the majority of Alaska’s visitors, however. Those arriving by cruise ship accounted for 55 percent of visitors, totaling 1,025,900 people in summer 2016. The highway/ferry market saw the biggest jump, going up 10 percent over the past year and now accounting for 5 percent of total summer visitor volume.