My Tourism Business

Then and Now

In addition to creating fine art photography, I operate a tourism and media business in Alaska. Here’s the long and winding road:

1986

I take a leave of absence from my consulting job in Boston to climb Mt. McKinley, fall in love with Alaska, and move here five years later.

1992

Six months after coming up with the idea for Alaska Channel TV, we launch in Anchorage. Segments include footage I hiked for weeks to acquire. Hours after launch, I get a call from an advertiser who says it’s working—customers are already coming in!

2002

After months of hell culminating in 3 consecutive all-nighters, we finally get our first print publication off to the printer. The 128-page Alaska Activities Guide debuts with hand-painted maps and dozens of my photos.

2003

Though I registered the domain in 1995, only now does Alaska.org go live, and with a mere 5 pages. My long education in digital marketing begins. 15 years and many rebuilds later, the site grows to 30,000 pages and 15 million pageviews a year!

2005

At my wife Yael’s initiative, Alaska Channel TV expands to Denali, Fairbanks, and other towns across Alaska. It’s a lot of work to create original TV programming for each town, but Yael takes charge.

2007

We launch the 11×17 Alaska Activities Map, hand-painted from aerial photos. It is so popular, we run out half way through the year. We now print 500,000 a year.

2010

Unlike the web, where we entered late, we enter mobile early with The Alaska App. The GPS-driven travel guide has everything under the sun: audio guides, live weather cams, even a tool to share wildlife sightings. It becomes the #1 Alaska travel app.

2012

The Anchorage Airport asks to be featured on our mobile app…then they ask us to take over part of the advertising in their terminal. Two years later, we become their exclusive advertising concessionaire!

2014

We discover we like the airport advertising business, go after Fairbanks, Juneau, and Kenai Airports, and win them all. We also take on advertising for Anchorage’s transit bus system, People Mover.

2016

The State of Alaska no longer wants to print an official state map. They reach an agreement with us to step into the void. We find rock star cartographers and design “The Alaska Map.” 100,000 are printed each year.

2019

Thirty-three years after stepping foot in Alaska for the first time, I launch a fine art photography site. Back then, I would take my pictures of Alaska back to my home in the Lower 48, and they would give me inspiration and solace. Today, I live in Alaska and share my pictures to give the same back to others.

Behind The Lens

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Bob Kaufman