Alaska Native Corporations Acquires 80% of Alaska Independent Coach Tours

Norwegian Joy at Icy Strait Point

Na-Dena', the joint venture between Alaska Native corporations Huna Totem Corporation and Doyon, acquired an 80% stake in Alaska Independent Coach Tours, including Pacific Alaska Tours based in Seattle, according to a press release.

Na-Dena' will rely on the strength of the present Alaska Independent Coach Tours management team to maintain its day-to-day motorcoach tour operations.

“We’ve spent the past 16 years growing our employee-owned company in Alaska and Washington. We’re thrilled to now be part of Na-Dena’ in partnership with two highly respected Native corporations as we expand our focus on cultural tourism. It’s a win-win for the visitors and the resulting jobs for Alaskans,” said Dennis McDonnell, the Alaska Independent Coach Tours President.

“Transporting travelers is a small part of what Alaska Independent Coach Tours does. From meeting travelers at the airport before boarding a cruise ship in Seattle to being the major tour operator in all Southeast Alaska gateway ports, Alaska Independent Coach Tours is most often the first contact visitors have to their Alaska vacation experience. The company’s staff is vital in setting the tone, moving the guest’s experience, historic and cultural understanding, and vacation quality to a higher level. They will play a strategic role in how Na-Dena’ delivers a better statewide tourism product,” added Huna Totem Corporation President and CEO Russell Dick.

Na-Dena' will look at expanding potential in transportation, lodging, and tour development in Alaska, according to a statement.

 Within each industry, the business has identified locations that haven't been explored and undeveloped assets indicating promise for future growth.

“The formation of Na-Dena’ marks the beginning of a new era in sustainable tourism for our state. Our partnership will provide balance to over-visited areas with other natural wonders and culturally significant destinations, encouraging travelers to ‘spend one more day’ and creating additional opportunity in Alaska’s fastest growing industry. By working together with Doyon, Na-Dena’ can influence more than 80 percent of all visitors coming to Alaska. It puts Alaska Native people and our lands, from Glacier Bay to the North Slope, on the leading edge of sustainable tourism. This is just the beginning of Native corporations coming together, delivering the real cultural experiences travelers are demanding from the tourism industry,” Dick continued.

Doyon's tourist ventures have been centered on Alaska's interior, including expeditions into the Kantishna mining zone in the heart of Denali National Park. Doyon's helping joint venture with ARAMARK attracts approximately 500,000 tourists from all around the world each year. Doyon's statewide travel presence will be strengthened by Na-Dena'.

“This is our first step in building Doyon’s next core pillar of business. Along with Huna Totem, we take a leading role in the next generation of tourism for Alaska. We plan to do this by sharing century-old traditions which define us, going beyond over-used routes that limit the tourism experience, and foster meaning, worthy of our visitors who will take the love of Alaska home with them and share it with their family and community,” said DoyonPresident and CEO Aaron Schutt.

Doyon and Huna Totem's joint venture intends to provide high-quality service to Alaska's cruise ship and tourism industries.

“Huna Totem Corporation is an expert in developing and operating world-class tour products. As an Alaska Native corporation, their proven ability to deliver the authentic Alaska experience that our customers seek is unmatched. Along with that authenticity is their respect for the natural beauty, and history of Alaska. That distinguishes them from many other operators worldwide and will prove to be a more sustainable model for tourism. We at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings are proud to be their partners, and we eagerly look forward to whatever they dream up next,” added Howard Sherman, president and CEO of Oceania Cruises.

“Royal Caribbean Group’s long-standing partnership with Alaska Independent Coach Tours spans three decades of providing seamless experiences for our guests. Our relationship with Huna Totem Corporation introduced the first cruise ship to Icy Strait Point in 2004. Na-Dena’’s landmark acquisition leverages years of logistics and tourism know-how with award-winning innovation, vision and a passion to share Alaska’s rich culture in an authentic and sustainable way. We are excited for the evolution of sustainable tourism in Alaska and the amazing experiences and adventures it will bring to our guests in the years to come,” commented Joshua Carroll, the vice president of destination development at Royal Caribbean Group.

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