Visitor figures down, both in-person and virtually, for Soldotna Chamber

Oct 30, 2017

The Soldotna City Council received its quarterly report from the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce at its meeting last Wednesday night. Executive Director Shannon Davis said traffic through the Soldotna Visitors Center was down this past season.

“We have slowed down just a little bit. We had about 27,000 visitors through the center May through September. The numbers continue to decline, and I think that's probably directly related to the number of busses that we have bypassing the center now, going straight to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge," she said. "And what we're hearing from then is that parking and the bathrooms are an issue.”

She added that visitation to the group’s website has also fallen off.

“I dug into them a little bit. I think it’s directly related to the State of Alaska having a smaller marketing budget. We're receiving quite a few less hits from their site," she said. "So I'll have to do some research on new opportunities until we can get that back up and running again with the state.”

By way of cutting back, Davis said the chamber’s weekly luncheons will be cut down to twice a month, on the second and fourth Wednesdays. She added they will be held in conjunction with the Kenai Chamber of Commerce as often as possible.

Davis said the chamber’s membership campaign recently wrapped up, with a total of 520 companies and organizations making up the its constituents.

She also gave an update on the group’s educational activities.

“So we have changed our ‘Student of the Month’ program to quarterly recognition at a Soldotna Chamber luncheon that's going to be 100 percent dedicated to the student of the month and education issues, and that's to give the kids a little bit more time to talk in front of the crowd that we have," she said. "We have our Student Master program kicked off for the 17-18 school year. We have 10 student participating this year, up from seven last year. And the chamber does provide $250 scholarships to each of those students who complete the program. We’ve also begun distributing our Soldotna High School scholarship information.”

Davis says the scholarship program has given students $260 thousand during the past 24 years.