Written By: The Alaskan Tourism Board
The Alaska Certified Expert (ACE) Program is a free, in-depth online training course for travel professionals covering the entire state of Alaska. The ACE Program educates readers on details needed to successfully sell Alaska, allowing them to increase commissions while also designing a custom itinerary to best fit their clients’ needs.
Alaska is BIG! Just over 660,000 square miles. With a road system the size of Rhode Island (roughly 1,200 square miles) traveling within the state a unique part of the Alaska experience. The ACE Program covers the logistics of traveling around the state throughout the various regions and seasons, as many areas are only accessible by boat or by air. The variety of ways available to get to Alaska are also covered in the course. While cruises tend to be the most popular and well-known mode of transportation to get to Alaska, travel by air is the fastest and for the road warriors, driving the Alaska Highway may be the best fit.
Alaska is divided into 5 regions: Far North, Interior, Southcentral, Southwest and Inside Passage. The ACE Program gives a comprehensive overview of each region each covered in its own module. Readers will learn about the different climates of the five regions throughout the seasons, the geography of each area, activities available and highlights offered specific to each region.
Sample itineraries are also available in the ACE Program. With a state so large, and so much to do and see, these itineraries are a great starting point to build custom trips for clients or to simply copy and incorporate into any group or FIT travel plan.
Along with trip planning tips, the ACE Program also educates the reader on the history of Alaska and the influence the indigenous peoples have had on the growth of the state in general as well as tourism. With Cultural Tourism on the rise throughout the world, Alaska’s rich cultural influences are prominent across the entire state and offer an excellent add-on to any itinerary.
Other niche markets aside from Cultural Tourism are also covered in the ACE Program. Alaska is known for its Adventure opportunities, both soft for the easy-going traveler and more extreme adventure options for the adrenaline junkies. Eco Tourism is becoming more popular in the state as well. Businesses can even apply for an Eco Tourism certification through Adventure Green Alaska, the only sustainable tourism certification program for tourism businesses operating in Alaska. Luxury travel is very unique niche market to Alaska and the reader will learn tips to educate their luxury clientele on what their “Alaska Luxury Experience” will entail. While there may not be any 5-star hotels in Alaska, visitors will enjoy once in a lifetime experiences unlike any other.
Winter tourism gaining popularity with the rise of aurora viewing tours and world renowned events like the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. The ACE Program will prepare agents on the logistics of getting around during winter, what areas are best to visit during the winter months and festivals and activity highlights winter travelers won’t want to miss.
While the ACE Program is a robust course, it is also interactive to keep the reader engaged while learning. Photos, videos and pop-up boxes with interesting facts are included in all of the training modules.
The program is divided into 7 modules with three tiers of certification levels based on the number of modules completed: Enthusiast, Specialist and Expert, allowing agents to explore the content at their own pace.
Chances to win Alaska swag and even Alaska FAM tours are available for those who complete the entire ACE Program and receive the Expert level certification. All graduates who complete the full course by March 31, 2016 will be entered in a drawing to win a bag full of Alaskan goodies! Drawing will be held on April 1, 2016. Future drawings will be quarterly throughout the year.
Graduates of the full course can also enter their Alaska sales for a chance to win a tailor-made, 5-day Alaska FAM! All travel, lodging and excursion costs will be paid for by the State of Alaska. Every sale entered is a chance to win! The drawing will be held May 1, 2016 and the FAM will be in June 2016. The Fine Print: All reservations, arrangements and costs covered are solely for the FAM winner. The winner will also be responsible for arranging and paying for their own meals during the duration of the FAM.