CIRI Alaska Tourism Corp. (CATC) reports that its year-to date pre-season bookings and reservations for independent and international travelers, groups, wholesale, conferences, conventions and weddings have surpassed 2010 numbers during the same period. Targeted international marketing and direct flights to Alaska appear to have improved CATC’s outlook for the 2011 season.
CATC expanded its international presence this year to capture a larger share of the market. In January, CATC staff traveled to German-speaking Europe and Asia to meet with tour operators and media representatives and to talk with travelers at consumer-oriented events. Foreign travel to Alaska is projected to increase in 2011 and beyond.
Korean Airlines and JetBlue will inaugurate direct flights to Alaska this summer. Condor, a German airline, will operate several flights each week between Anchorage and Frankfurt starting May 7. Edelweiss Airlines, based in Zurich, Switzerland, will also offer new flight service this summer between Anchorage and Zurich.
Marine tour bookings are looking up since CATC began its popular gray whale watch tours in early April. The daily tours, which often star gray whales, humpback whales and orcas in Resurrection Bay, will begin April 29. CATC will begin its national parks tours mid-May.
“Our guests are ecstatic about the abundance of wildlife they are seeing on our tours,” said Paul Landis, CATC chief operating officer. “Everyone at CATC is looking forward to the 2011 season and to showcasing the very best lodging and marine tours Alaska has to offer.”
CATC is Alaska’s largest, locally owned visitor services company. It helps travelers experience the best of Alaska, including national parks, wildlife and glaciers. CATC is a wholly owned CIRI subsidiary and a certified Minority Business Enterprise. Learn more about CATC at www.ciritourism.com.