Alaska Fishing Tours – Making Sense Of The Business

The sense that the Alaska fishing tours bring in a lot of dollars and cents is quite an obvious one. Their contribution to the economy was highlighted by a recent official survey conducted by the Alaska Department of Fish and game looking at 2007 data. Their findings included quantifying the number of fishing licenses sold in Alaska that year to nearly half a million. The also found these fishermen had a high level of spending on their hobby equating to $1. 39 billion per annum. Related expenditure was on areas such as travel, accommodation, equipment and guides.

A similar study was undertaken in 2008 in Bethel, Alaska. Bethel is a remote community on the West Coast of Alaska, 340 miles west of Anchorage. The area has a population of around 6, 300 and fishing plays a large part in their economy.

The findings of the Bethel 2008 study were that they were missing a lot of opportunities. They knew the out of town visitor had a higher income and that he usually spent far more than a local fisherman. From this information they identified repeat business was a key aim. But to achieve repeat business they would need to improve the level of services available to such a visitor. The current levels of options was not enough and the standard of accommodation needed to be improved. There were easy things to do and the desirability of their fish was a positive draw card.

The regulatory body, the Alaskan Department of Fish and Game has been promoting the idea guides need to be registered to ensure industry standards remain high. They are well aware that fishing tours are a major contributor to the Alaskan economy. The benefits of regulation in their minds will foster and maintain professionalism amongst guides. And the flow on effect from this is that Alaskan fishing tours will maintain their levels of viability.

One of the positive outcomes of licensing is an increase in the level of hard numerical data about fish stocks and activities. These are provided by log books maintained by the registered guides. This data will be useful for trends and for basing sensible decisions on.

One area of complementary tourism to work alongside fishing tours is Wildlife viewing tours. At this stage there is little empirical data available. However more tourists wanting to spend their tourist dollar in Alaska is always a positive sign.

In the end Alaska fishing tours and the general sport fishing industry are major parts of the economy of Alaska. The benefits they bring and need to ensure their continued viability is one of upmost importance.

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