Alaska Native youth practice Native sports events in the Alaska Native Heritage event space.

ANHC publishes 5-Year Cultural Tourism Plan and several tools for the Cultural Tourism Industry

The Alaska Native Heritage Center (ANHC) is pleased to announce the release of several tools for the Cultural Tourism industry in Alaska. With the support of grant funding from the Economic Development Administration, ANHC has developed a 5-Year Cultural Tourism Plan, an interactive map of Cultural Tourism offerings in Alaska, and several business plan tools intended for small to medium Cultural Tourism businesses.

Emily Edenshaw, President and CEO of ANHC, sees this as a pivotal moment for tourism in which Alaska Native communities can be positioned to thrive on their long-standing values of resiliency through the promotion of cultural tourism. “As the state pivots from surviving COVID-19 to adapting to new realities, the tourism industry has a unique opportunity to prioritize Alaska Native businesses. Tourists who explore cultural and indigenous experiences stay longer and spend more money than the average traveler. While we recover from COVID-19, capturing these additional dollars from visitors is vitally important to our economy and our people.”

With input from Indigenous community members and stakeholders, ANHC developed a 5-Year Statewide Cultural Tourism Plan in collaboration with McKinley Research Group. The plan is focused on building capacity for tourism businesses that exemplify Alaska’s unique and diverse cultures. The plan includes several objectives, strategies, and metrics that can be used by entities that are seeking to build capacity and enhance the Cultural Tourism sector. In addition to the 5-Year Cultural Tourism plan, ANHC has created a statewide cultural tourism map with Resource Data which will be published digitally later this year. Lastly, ANHC worked with Spruce Root to develop several business planning tools, including a template that businesses can use to develop information and resources that can guide them to successful operations. There are three templates: a sole-proprietary jewelry business, a small cultural driving tour, and a cultural center modeled  from ANHC. There is also a mini-model version for those who are seeking a low-barrier tool.

Overall, the grant from the Economic Development Administration has helped orient the Alaskan tourism industry towards communities and attractions that will serve to benefit businesses across the state which exemplify Alaska Native cultures for visitors. ANHC is excited to partner with community members from all regions of Alaska to develop sustainable cultural tourism opportunities which prioritize Alaska Native attractions.

“The cultural tourism plan will bring together the public and private sectors to diversify and strengthen the state-wide economy by enhancing Alaska’s cultural destination brand. This plan will bring attention to the truly valuable cultural assets that exist in Alaska,” said Edenshaw. “We are sincerely grateful to the Economic Development Administration for this support and recognition of the importance of Indigenous-led cultural tourism in our state.”

You can access the 5-Year Cultural Tourism Plan here: Cultural Tourism Plan

See our post on the business plans here: Cultural Tourism Businesses in Alaska

About the Alaska Native Heritage Center

The Alaska Native Heritage Center is a nonprofit organization that preserves and strengthens the traditions, languages and art of Alaska’s Native People through statewide collaboration, celebration and education. It is located at 8800 Heritage Center Drive in northeast Anchorage, just off Muldoon Road North near Bartlett High School. For more information about other events and programs, visit www.alaskanative.net.