Ketchikan Tourism Strategy

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link


The Ketchikan Gateway Borough, in partnership with Confluence Sustainability and the George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies, began the initial steps to develop a tourism destination management strategy.

The Ketchikan Gateway Borough recognizes that the community is at a critical juncture as it experiences the effects of sustained growth in tourism. There is now a need to work directly with the community to define a shared vision for tourism growth and its management. The Ketchikan Borough’s future tourism Destination Management strategy aims to foster destination stewardship and improve the coordinated management of all the elements that make up the tourism economy. It will focus on balancing the expectations of visitors with the needs of local residents, businesses and the environment.


The Ketchikan Gateway Borough, in partnership with Confluence Sustainability and the George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies, began the initial steps to develop a tourism destination management strategy.

The Ketchikan Gateway Borough recognizes that the community is at a critical juncture as it experiences the effects of sustained growth in tourism. There is now a need to work directly with the community to define a shared vision for tourism growth and its management. The Ketchikan Borough’s future tourism Destination Management strategy aims to foster destination stewardship and improve the coordinated management of all the elements that make up the tourism economy. It will focus on balancing the expectations of visitors with the needs of local residents, businesses and the environment.

  • Ketchikan Gateway Borough Publishes the Resident Sentiment Towards Tourism Survey Key Findings

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    Ketchikan’s growing popularity, especially as a cruise destination, is bringing a steadily growing number of visitors to its shore every year. While tourism growth has brought many economic benefits, it is putting a strain on the community, its infrastructure and natural resources. The destination is now facing a range of interrelated challenges: over-reliance on cruise tourism, traffic congestion and aging infrastructure, persistent workforce shortages and limited workforce housing, among others. To address these challenges and avoid consequent impacts from unmanaged tourism, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough (KGB) spearheaded a participatory planning process. The planning process brought together about 1,600 residents, businesses, non-governmental organizations, public sector and community leaders across all local jurisdictions to develop a community vision and strategies for staying ahead of uncontrolled tourism. The Ketchikan Tourism Strategy (KTS) is the result of the yearlong participatory planning process.

    The Ketchikan Gateway Borough is releasing research findings that have contributed to the development of the KTS, due to be published in spring 2023, these are the Resident Sentiment Towards Tourism Survey Key Findings, and the Online Travel Review Report.


    The KTS looks at all of the ways tourism is affecting Ketchikan–both positive and negative–and identifies ways to support the positive effects and reduce or eliminate the negative impacts. The Resident Sentiment Towards Tourism Survey was one of the steps in the KTS development process. The analysis of the survey results provides a comprehensive snapshot of residents’ current perceptions of tourism in Ketchikan as well as their vision for the future.

    The survey was open to anyone aged 18 or older who lives or works in Ketchikan. The online survey was deployed from May 9 to August 1, 2022, and had 1,343 respondents. The main topics covered in the survey were:

    • Tourism economic impacts
    • Sentiment about benefits versus drawbacks
    • Impacts on quality of life
    • The environment
    • Resident involvement and engagement in tourism
    • Future tourism development

    In addition, the survey included open-ended questions allowing the respondents to express their views on tourism development in Ketchikan. On average, the open-ended questions generated 980 comments. Content analysis was used to derive recurring main themes.

    The Resident Sentiment Towards Tourism Survey Findings Report can be viewed here: https://ktntalk.com/15682/widgets/65292/documents/43168

  • Ketchikan Gateway Borough Publishes Online Travel Review Report

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    Ketchikan’s growing popularity, especially as a cruise destination, is bringing a steadily growing number of visitors to its shore every year. While tourism growth has brought many economic benefits, it is putting a strain on the community, its infrastructure and natural resources. The destination is now facing a range of interrelated challenges: over-reliance on cruise tourism, traffic congestion and aging infrastructure, persistent workforce shortages and limited workforce housing, among others. To address these challenges and avoid consequent impacts from unmanaged tourism, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough (KGB) spearheaded a participatory planning process. The planning process brought together about 1,600 residents, businesses, non-governmental organizations, public sector and community leaders across all local jurisdictions to develop a community vision and strategies for staying ahead of uncontrolled tourism. The Ketchikan Tourism Strategy (KTS) is the result of the yearlong participatory planning process.

    The Ketchikan Gateway Borough is releasing research findings that have contributed to the development of the KTS, due to be published in spring 2023, these are the Resident Sentiment Towards Tourism Survey Key Findings, and the Online Travel Review Report.

    The Online Travel Review Report of tourism attractions is loaded with information about visitors’ opinions and appraisals of amenities such as facilities and transportation for getting to, from and around; environment-related factors such as scenery and crowding; and key aspects of their experience such as interactions with locals and tour guides. Online travel reviews also reveal visitors’ sentiments–their level of satisfaction and any emotional or memorable connection created.

    Tracking, analyzing and using visitor reviews to improve the level of satisfaction expressed in reviews, surveys and online content is critical for managers of attractions and tourism destinations. By analyzing the visitor reviews of individual tourism attractions and the destination overall, managers can improve their sites and attractions to meet the needs and expectations of tourists and marketers can create tailored campaigns that entice travelers to book a trip and educate visitors about how to minimize their footprint.

    Researchers at the George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies worked with the Ketchikan Gateway Borough (KGB) to assess entries posted on Tripadvisor, the industry’s largest website for traveler reviews, over a four-year period (January 2018 to September 2021). In addition to being the world’s largest consumer-facing travel site, Tripadvisor has become the most popular and reliable online travel review platform for researchers in the travel sector. The analysis of these reviews provides a holistic picture of Ketchikan’s tourism assets and areas for improvement, focusing primarily on visitor experience issues and the emotional responses of visitors. The data analysis took place between February and April 2022.

    A total of 2,862 visitor reviews for 18 tourism attractions were analyzed. The attractions were organized into three tourism attraction types: nature and outdoor recreation, cultural heritage, and leisure and entertainment. Table 1 provides a complete list of the attractions included in this study.

    The Online Travel Review Report can be viewed here: https://ktntalk.com/15682/widgets/63621/documents/41809

  • Key Takeaways from the Community Listening and Engagement Tour

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Last fall, the consulting team spent a week hosting workshops and community meetings to take a deeper dive into the tourism landscape and understand the priority issues around tourism for Ketchikan.

    During this time, a formal community meeting was scheduled for Thursday, October 6. With very limited attendance, the team responded with coordinating a pop-up event at Art Night with an information table at Creek Street. The Borough and consulting team connected with ~50 Ketchikan residents to share project updates and gather feedback on the general approach and specific to identified proposed solutions for transportation and visitor behaviors. This was a very productive engagement opportunity.

    The following high-level Topics of Interest is a summary of issues raised during the onsite visit and documented in the draft Situation Analysis Report. These will be further refined in preparation for the next and final phase of the project, underway right now, when the community works together on proposed solutions:

    • Diversify and create a year-round economy

    • Comprehensive visitor management system

    • Address staffing shortages

    • Celebrate culture and heritage

    • Strain on year-round and seasonal workforce housing

    Read more about the topics of interest and the next phase of the process to develop Ketchikan's Tourism Strategy at the link below.

    https://ktntalk.com/15682/widgets/47899/documents/40015


  • Tourism Strategy Visioning and Planning Workshops & Community Engagement

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    The Ketchikan Tourism Strategy (KTS) is working toward phase 3 in the process. On October 5, 6, and 7th, the KTS contractors will be on site for the second time to conduct two workshops and public meetings to develop solutions and strategies for tourism in Ketchikan.

    The Community Public Town Hall will be held at the Borough chambers on Thursday, October 6th at 6 pm. This meeting will consist of updating the community on the project and engaging around potential solutions and strategies for tourism. Another update will be provided after the visit to share the turnout to the meetings.

  • 5-16-22 Update

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    The Tourism Strategy is well underway, with two Advisory Committee meetings under the belt and the deployment of the Resident Tourism Sentiment Survey. The survey will be pushed to the public over the next several weeks through multiple avenues and local agencies. The goal of the survey is to understand the residents’, both seasonal and year-round residents, sentiments and attitudes toward tourism in Ketchikan.

    The Planning Director has been actively attempting to get the word out regarding the survey; appearing on KFMJ and KRBD and presenting to Rotary 2000. A postcard mailer will also be mailed to each mailing address in the Borough, to solicit input for the survey.

    The Borough has also launched a public engagement site to elicit public involvement for upcoming projects. The site is located at http://ktntalk.com. The Tourism Strategy is located here along with other projects the Borough is conducting.

    loader image
    Didn't receive confirmation?
    Seems like you are already registered, please provide the password. Forgot your password? Create a new one now.
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel
  • Tourism Strategy Advisory Group Continues to Support Project

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    On Since Tuesday, March 22nd, the Tourism Strategy Advisory Committee continues to meet regularly to oversee and advise on the Ketchikan Tourism Strategy project which is being supported by a consulting team from Confluence Sustainability and The George Washington University International Institute of Tourism Studies. The meetings have been well attended. The Advisory Committee is comprised of the following, but the public is encouraged to attend and participate:


    • Mayor Dial, Borough
    • Mayor Seludo, City of Saxman
    • Councilmember Jai Mahtani, City of Ketchikan
    • President Trixie Bennett, Ketchikan Indian Community
    • President Joe Williams, Organized Village of Saxman
    • Patti Mackey, KVB
    • Michelle O’Brien, Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce
    • Bret Hiatt, SSRAA
    • Brandi Diamond, First Bank
    • Linda Randall, South Tongass Service Area
    • Chief Kiefer, North Tongass Service Area
    loader image
    Didn't receive confirmation?
    Seems like you are already registered, please provide the password. Forgot your password? Create a new one now.
    Submitting your comment
    Cancel
Page last updated: 30 May 2023, 11:38 AM