With nearly 120,000 cruise ship passengers visiting Sitka in 2016, there are numerous opportunities to grow visitor related businesses. Sitka has abundant wild life, beauty of the Tongass National Forest, a rich 10,000 year history, a wealth of activity and event options, and a dynamic arts community.
Sitka is is a hidden treasure for cruise ship passengers. Sitka's location on the outer coast of Baranof Island, is not on the main route for cruise ship traffic, however, year after year, the lucky cruise ship passengers that get to visit comment how Sitka is their favorite stop. Sitka is a charming town with a downtown that maintains its walk-able, small-town character, in addition, most of the shops are owned and operated by year-round residents. Sitka is 'Real.'
In addition to the larger cruise ships, Sitka also caters to the high-end, small-ship (49 to 95 passengers) cruise lines that begin or end their cruises here. The smaller ships allow passengers to extend their stay in Sitka for additional site seeing and activities. One of Sitka's home-town businesses, Alaskan Dream Cruises, is home-ported in Sitka and provides a more intimate cruise of Southeast Alaska.
There may be an opportunity to develop a business that is based on creating or facilitating tour and activity options for these visitors and encouraging them to stay for several additional days in Sitka. This target market could be extended to other independent visitors as well. For example Sitka is visited by about 300 larger recreational vessels and yachts each year. Can a business be created to cater to these higher-end visitors? Perhaps a concierge tour service for independent visitors that expect and will pay for high quality goods and services?
Another idea is to create a package deal that encourages charter fishermen to bring their spouses or family with them. Sitka is a major charter fishing destination in Alaska. While the fishermen are out on the fishing grounds, their family could be treated to other adventures and a vacation of their own.
Visit the following pages to see some of what Sitka has to offer that could lead to a visitor related business venture.