Southeast Alaska is home to the Tongass National Forest, a rain forest with more than 17,690 miles of salmon-bearing rivers, streams and lakes. The region draws more than a million tourists a year who come to see glaciers, view wildlife, sport fish, and generally be wowed by the natural beauty of one of America’s best wild places.Many towns in Southeast Alaska in recent years have invested in the tourism industry, which brings nearly $1 billion to the regional economy and contributes about 20 percent of employment opportunities.
One of them is Hoonah, a predominantly Tlingit community on Chichagof Island, a roughly half-hour plane ride from Juneau. Formerly a logging town, Hoonah is now a cruise-ship destination for visitors seeking to experience Alaska Native culture, eat some locally caught wild salmon and halibut, and watch humpback whales cavorting in nearby waters.
Hoonah’s successful transition from a struggling economy in the late 1990s to a place where tourism entrepreneurship is on the rise is captured in the September issue of Alaska Business Monthly. It was reprinted this month in Sitnews, a regional online news source in Southeast Alaska. Read the article here.