Entrepreneurs will be selected through an application process.
Priority will be given to individuals who have demonstrated a commitment toward developing their tourism business. This can be established through development of a viable business plan, marketing plan, or previous attendance and participation at several DART sponsored or similar tourism product development and business planning workshops. The OED will select participants representing a broad range of tourism-related businesses (i.e. transportation, lodging, food/beverage, tour operators, etc.).
Mentors will also be selected through a recruitment process coordinated with various visitor industry trade associations, tourism-related organizations, and referrals.
The concept for this program evolved during staff discussions held with the Bed & Breakfast Association of Alaska and the Fairbanks Convention & Visitors Bureau, who will be primary partners in this project. In addition to USDA Rural Development, future partners will be identified based on the need of the program participants and include:
- Alaska Department of Fish & Game
- Alaska Travel Industry Association
- Alaska Wilderness Recreation & Tourism Association
- Alaska Regional Development Organizations
- University of Alaska (Prince William Sound Community College, Alaska Small Business Development Centers, UAF Kuskokwim Campus, UA Center for Economic Development)
- Alaska Manufacturing Extension Partnership
- Inter-Island Ferry Authority
- Juneau Economic Development Council
- Huna Totem Corporation