Downtown businesses talk summer tourism

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Local businesses gathered to hear city officials and motorcoach companies discuss summer tourism during a meeting at the Lavelle’s Bistro Discovery Room on April 26, 2017. | Photo by the Downtown Association of Fairbanks

More than two dozen local businesses and organizations gathered on April 26 to discuss downtown’s tourism prospects for summer 2017. According to two motorcoach companies, things look promising.

Holland America Princess’ Fairbanks visitation is up over last year. About 90,000 people will have time in Fairbanks enough for a visit to downtown, said Danielle Hayes. The majority will lunch downtown. Shuttle ridership downtown increased to 14,000, a 16% increase over 2016. Expectations are for another downtown increase in 2017. Busiest days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; Monday and Friday are “shoulder” days. 

Premier Alaska Tours’ guest count is also up. Japanese and Chinese customers, who usually book winter trips, are booking summer tours. For Premier, Tuesday and Sunday are the busiest days, Thursday and Saturday the slowest. Sunday business hours would be very helpful to have nailed down, said Buzzy Chiu. She also noted Premier’s use of the Downtown Guide, the map published by the Downtown Association of Fairbanks.

Deputy Chief Dan Welborn, of the Fairbanks Police Department, stated that there is no dedicated downtown police officer this summer.