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Anchorage airport, hotels see tourism numbers rebound

November 10, 2021 GMT

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska’s largest airport saw a big jump in summer passengers compared to the 2020 season, when the pandemic kept many people at home.

More than 877,000 passengers traveled through the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport between May and September this year compared to the same time last year, Anchorage television station KTUU reported.

“The terminal was very busy this summer, so we knew it was going to be a good summer,” said Jim Szczesniak, the airport manager. Airport officials said those passengers injected more than $1 billion into Alaska’s economy.

The travel group Visit Anchorage said hotel demand was up 47% over the same time period, as compared to 2020.

“So we made some really encouraging gains, but we’re not back to where we were pre-pandemic,” Visit Anchorage Community Engagement Director Jack Bonney said.

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Both are cautiously optimistic for 2022.

“I think as long as we stay on a positive course, we have a lot of really encouraging indicators for next year, but so much of this is tied up in national and global developments around the pandemic,” Bonney said.

Szczesniak is hopeful the increase in passenger numbers will continue to climb with expanded cruises and international travel expected next year.