KPTMC: Local Area Needs to Look Beyond Fish

Posted: August 13, 2013 at 8:03 am

By all accounts, the local area saw good numbers when it came to this year’s tourist season. During our conversation with Shanon Hamrick, Executive Director of the Kenai  Penisnula Tourism Marketing Council, the topic of diversification was brought up again…


Hamrick: “Well we need to continue to diversify, especially with the impact from our fisheries. The number one reason people come to Alaska is for our mountains, our glaciers, and our wildlife, so the more opportunities we have for people to get out and experience those types of things, really touch Alaska and feel it, the better off we are. Also infrastructure needs, it’s been on my wishlist for a long time to have a really great convention center in the central area of the Kenai Peninsula, and I think that could have a huge impact on bringing groups here on the shoulder seasons.”

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2 Comments to “KPTMC: Local Area Needs to Look Beyond Fish”

  • Mary says:

    So you believe that the more people who come to visit Alaska, touch and feel it, the better off we are. I have always lived in a small town during my life, I am 62yrs. I came to Soldotna Alaska 32 yrs ago to get away from a bunch of people. Why is it that people want to change a small town into a popular tourist center. The more people the more crime, then you need better roads, then more troopers etc. then more of everything. What is wrong with simplicity and not a bunch of tourists? If you came here hoping to make big dollars from tourists that is your choice, but for some of us we came here because we love small towns. This is Shanon’s dream of having more people, certainly not mine.

  • Shanon Hamrick says:

    While I respect that not everyone who lives on The Kenai embraces the idea of having more visitors to the area, I did not come to Alaska to “hoping to make big dollars from tourists”. I was born here 38 years ago. I was raised in a family that was supported largely by big oil, until oil began to decline and my father was “encouraged” to take early retirement. The visitor industry provided my family with another option to make a living here on The Kenai, rather than having to look at moving out of state to make ends meet.

    It is my vision to have responsible growth and opportunities for all Alaskans. A healthy economy is a diverse one. I have now raised a family here myself, and while my daughter is getting ready to leave state to explore options that are available to her else ware, I would like to think that if she chooses to return there will be a multitude of work opportunities for her.

    Mary, at 62 years old you are nearing retirement age and will not have to worry about having a job to support your lifestyle, but many younger people who would like to call Alaska home need job opportunities. Tourism supports nearly every aspect of The Kenai’s economy, and helps to keep our property taxes low with the influx of sales tax dollars that come into our communities from visitors.
    This is my home. I love the Kenai Peninsula. I am willing to share it with people from around the world because it helps most who live here have a better quality of life, whether that be through lower taxes, better infrastructure or more opportunities for work and play.