As the days get longer and the snow starts to melt I think all of us are starting to think about how we are going to spend our summer. While I know that the lure of Hawaiian beaches and the Florida Keys might sound enticing after a long winter here in Alaska, I hope that all of you will take some time this summer and get out to explore your backyard! With tourist numbers projected to be at their lowest in years, now is the perfect time to book that Alaskan adventure you've been putting off! Try combat fishing without the combat, drive the backroads without the RV caravans, a book that cabin or fish lodge you've always wanted to try. There's never been a better time to explore the land of the midnight sun and the tourism industry could really use your support!

This kind of local support is the reason we and our many partners support BuyAlaska. Every dollar you spend locally stays here in the state and circulates in the economy much longer than when you spend your dollars online at outside vendors. As our vaccine rates continue to lead the nation and our businesses start to reopen and recover it's more important than ever to help them but shopping local. I hope that you will all take a moment to look at the online marketplace that Voyij has launched to help support online sales for local businesses as well.

As we continue to work to save our businesses and buy local, please let us know if there's a business or initiative in your area that we should highlight! We're always looking for new programs and entrepreneurs to showcase and support all over Alaska. Over the last year, we've seen all the different ways that Alaskans have come together to help each other out, and we're proud to be a part of that and to support all of you as we get through this together. I hope you enjoy the programs and partners we featured in this months' newsletter and I look forward to seeing you out on the trails and on the rivers this summer as we explore our state and BuyAlaska!

Sincerely,

Jon Bittner
Alaska SBDC Executive Director