Royal Caribbean Group and the Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA) Foundation have partnered to assist more than 60 tourism businesses and community organizations in their pandemic recoveries, according to a press release.
With funding coming from Royal Caribbean Group, the ATIA Foundation accepted grant applications from businesses and nonprofits across the state and is currently awarding more than $745,000 to over 65 of them.
Recipients include small tourism businesses, such as Sitka Bike and Hike and Chilkat River Adventures as well as organizations supporting community needs, like Fairbanks Community Food Bank, Sunshine Station Child Care and Huna Heritage Foundation.
“Even as tourism rebounds, communities that rely heavily on the industry have struggled to pull out of a nearly two-year pandemic-induced drought,” ATIA President and CEO Sarah Leonard said. “It’s really something seeing our partners at Royal Caribbean Group step up and support them.”
Depending on their applications, grant recipients will see anywhere from $3,000 to $75,000 between July and November and are able to put the money toward immediate needs, like staffing or equipment, according to a statement.
“Alaskans are known for coming to the aid of their neighbors and we understood the importance of being there for the community in a time of need,” said Wendy Lindskoog, Royal Caribbean Group’s associate vice president of Government Relations, Alaska. “Even as we start up cruising in July, a partial season cannot make up for the losses over the last 16 months. We knew we had to find the resources to help local businesses and nonprofits supporting the well-being of Alaskans.”
“These grants will mean a lot, not just to tourism businesses and their employees, but also to their friends and neighbors,” Leonard said. “It’s about lifting up the whole community. Partnerships with organizations like Royal Caribbean Group on important and thoughtful initiatives show the unity and power of the Alaska tourism industry and what can be accomplished when we work together.”