Celebration dumps $2 million into Juneau economy, study says

Hundreds of Native Alaskans gathered in downtown Juneau for the Grand Entrance for Celebration 2012.

Hundreds of Native Alaskans gathered in downtown Juneau for the Grand Entrance for Celebration 2012. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

Celebration 2012 reportedly brought $2 million into the Juneau economy.

An economic impact study conducted by Juneau research firm McDowell Group indicates that $1.1 million is new money, brought into Juneau by visitors.

The Sealaska Heritage Institute’s biennial festival is the largest event in Southeast Alaska. SHI says 5,500 people purchased tickets this year.

McDowell Group project manager Bob Koenitzer says the firm conducted 873 surveys during last week’s event.

“The primary purpose was to find out how long they were here and how much money they spent,” Koenitzer says.

Spending does not include transportation costs to and from Juneau for Celebration.

The institute hired McDowell Group to conduct the economic study. It indicates the economic contribution to the capital city will rise after Sealaska Heritage builds the Soboleff Cultural Center downtown.

Funds are still being raised for the facility, but construction could begin as soon as February of next year.

The economic impact study was released Thursday, as the Juneau Assembly is considering a Sealaska Heritage Institute request for $3 million in sales tax revenue to be used for construction of the non-profit center.