SUDIPTA DEV – Mumbai
Representatives from Alaska’s tourism industry have been increasingly meeting with India based tour operators to assist with product development. “While Alaska’s international marketing effort is on the top five producing markets (Australia/ New Zealand, UK, German speaking Europe, Japan, Korea), opportunities to enter the market are being explored,” said Jesse Carlstrom, international marketing manager, Alaska Tourism Industry Association.
Some of the key destinations in Alaska that are of interest to Indian visitors are Inside Passage, national parks, etc. “Indian market travel patterns are similar to the domestic US market in that the majority of Indian visitors first come to Alaska’s Inside Passage via cruise. Some take pre and post cruise tours inland and explore the different attractions available in each port city. For those who travel farther north to the interior region, Denali National Park is a very popular destination and offers a wide variety of tours and attractions for all ages,” said Carlstrom. He mentioned that tourists can enjoy wide variety of activities while visiting Alaska. Depending upon the region and time of year, activities are available for all ages ranging from dog mushing, hiking, kayaking, flightseeing to bird watching, riding on the Alaska Railroad, skiing and wildlife viewing. There are many events in Alaska that attract international visitors and could be interesting new products for the Indian market, e.g. Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, Fur Rendezvous, World Ice Art Championship and the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics.
While Indians have mostly opted for Alaska as a cruise destination Carlstrom informed about the other options of travelling around in Alaska. “As the state is quite large in size, travelling on land is predominantly done via personal vehicle (cars or motorhomes), tour buses and riding on the Alaska Railroad. If visitors do not come by cruise ship, they can enter the state by commercial airplane or drive in from Canada,” he explained.