Alicia Leamer, Visitor Services Manager at Travel Juneau stands ready to welcome visitors at the newly re-opened Visitor Information Center. The Center is now open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. The center, which frequently uses volunteer staff, will try to stay open seven days a week, starting in June. COVID mitigation measures, such as plexiglass partitions and mask-wearing, are in place to keep volunteers and visitors safe. Interested in volunteering? Call the Travel Juneau office at 586-1737. (Dana Zigmund/Juneau Empire)

Invite your friends to Juneau

Travel Juneau employs a two-pronged advertising approach

Start sprucing up your guest room and issuing invitations.

According to Liz Perry, president and CEO of Travel Juneau, this summer is the perfect time to show off the capital city to loved ones or consider a Juneau-based staycation.

In a recent phone interview, Perry said that the staff at Travel Juneau is busy fielding calls and online requests for information from people in the lower 48, a bump that she attributes to a “two-prong promotion” that targets people in select cities and locals with friends and family members who might be interested in visiting this summer.

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“Our website traffic is up from those activities, and our call volume is up from the end of January,” she said. “We’ve sent out many travel guides in the last six weeks.”

Perry explained that targeted advertising is underway along the West Coast, particularly in cities that are a short drive from Seattle, the departure city for many Juneau-bound flights. Advertisements are also running in Chicago, Dallas and areas of Tennessee. She said her staff is fielding inquiries from people on the East Coast, as well.

What’s trending

Interest in trails is robust, as is a desire to bring a personal vehicle to town.

“We are getting lots of calls from people who want to bring their car or RV up on the ferry. That’s an indication of people wanting to travel. Road trips are top of mind for people. The idea of an epic road trip is really popular this summer,” she said.

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She also said that Juneau benefits from people traveling to fishing lodges on Admiralty Island and other secluded spots for which Juneau serves as a travel hub.

“Many remote fishing lodges on Admiralty are already booked up, and many of those folks stop in Juneau on the way,” she said.

Perry acknowledged that not everyone is interested in all outdoor activities and that Juneau offers something for everyone. She said that sample itineraries available on Travel Juneau’s website, note that history buffs enjoy the Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum and the Juneau-Douglas City Museum as well as a visit to the Sealaska Heritage Institute’s Walter Soboleff Building.

“We are seeing lots of last-minute arrangements. Things are filling up so fast in the Lower 48 that people are looking further and further afield,” she said.

Making plans

Travel Juneau’s website features a list of businesses that are open and doing business to help locals and travelers make plans this summer. She said the Travel Juneau staff is made up of locals who “know the town inside out” and are happy to answer travel-related questions.

In addition, the Visitor Information Center on the dock is now open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays. Perry said the center, which frequently uses volunteer staff, will try to stay open seven days a week, starting in June. COVID mitigation measures are in place to keep volunteers and visitors safe. She encouraged anyone interested in volunteering to call the Travel Juneau office at 586-1737.

Perry encouraged residents to support local businesses while making plans this summer, as local enterprises face another summer without large cruise ships.

“It’s going to be a difficult summer for mom and pops. Anything people can do to boost our mom-and-pop businesses and get them through to 2022 will help. Any charter you get here in Juneau is local, and every purchase helps,” she said.

• Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4891.

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