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November 2017

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Sarah Leonard

Sarah Leonard. President & CEO, Alaska Travel Industry Association

Leonard: ‘Alaska needs a competitive tourism marketing reinvestment’

When and how did you first become involved in the tourism industry?

One of my first jobs was as a hostess at the Space Needle Restaurant. I moved to Seattle after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism and public relations. From there, I moved to Tempe, Arizona and entered into the graduate level recreation management and tourism program. It is through this program at Arizona State University where I saw the depth of the opportunities in the tourism industry as well as the connections between industry and public lands. While finishing my Master’s degree, I worked in marketing and research for Arizona State Parks and interacted with park visitors. I saw firsthand how quality outdoor recreation experiences could benefit visitors’ well-being and be economic drivers for a community. After moving to Alaska, I thought what better place for tourism to be part of local and state economies while providing visitors amazing outdoor experiences. read more