In a region where the weather can be harsh, travel trailers are a staple of the vacation market.
They’re usually light, comfortable and affordable, and their popularity has grown to the point where Alaska’s tourism industry has grown from $12.5 billion last year to $18 billion in 2019.
In Alaska, however, travel trailer rentals are not as common as they once were.
The industry is so new that there are no official statistics on how many trailers exist in the state.
There are only a handful of hotels and motels that rent travel trailers and that’s about it.
There is also no official list of travel trailers in Alaska, but the state’s Tourism Department does list trailers as one of the main factors contributing to tourism.
“I don’t know if that’s accurate,” said Mike Fiske, who runs the Alaska Travel Trailer Business Association.
“We’re in a tough market, and people are not comfortable renting a trailer.
We have to compete with every other state in the country.”
It’s an issue that’s been highlighted by the recent death of the family-owned, two-person travel trailer business.
On July 17, 2016, the family of John T. Haug, 64, of Anchorage, died after his vehicle crashed and flipped over at a trailer park in Alaskan wilderness.
The crash was the second death of a family member in less than a year in the industry.
In January, the death of his sister-in-law, Carol F. Hough, 65, was reported in a trailer in North Slope Borough, just outside Anchorage.
The two women died after a vehicle struck them while they were traveling to the Alaskans second annual sledding festival in June.
The Houghs, who had owned and operated the business for more than 40 years, were in a semi-trailer when the accident happened.
“It’s a tragic accident that could have been avoided if it weren’t for the trailer,” said Lisa M. Schmitt, a member of the Alaska Tourism Travel Trailer Owners Association.
The state’s Department of Transportation is working with the state legislature to provide a list of trailers available for rent.
“This will give people the opportunity to know where to go and where to stay,” Schmitt said.
But Fiskel said the industry is still in its infancy and the industry can’t offer much help with rental rates.
“You can’t just rent a trailer for a day or a week,” he said.
“A trailer can be very expensive.
There’s no way to compare one trailer rental to another.
If you’re looking for a family to bring a little something to the family, you’re not going to get a rental on a trailer.”
Travel trailers can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 depending on size and configuration.
In some areas, the rental rates are higher.
Rentals can range from $100 to $300 a night in places like Prince William Sound, Prince William, Kodiak and Kodiak Island.
“The trailer rental industry is very young,” said John E. Molnar, a partner with the Anchorage-based consulting firm Travelers Business Management.
“But they’re definitely growing.
They need to grow in order to stay competitive.”
The industry may not be growing quickly enough to justify the cost of rentals, but Fiskes said it is important to recognize the need for travel trailers.
“Travel trailers are just a part of the market,” he told the AP.
“They’re still being used as a means of transportation for a lot of people.”
The Anchorage office of the Travelers Association said it would like to see more state and federal regulations on the industry, which it said is vital for business growth.
“With the growing number of tourists visiting Alaska and the popularity of the trailer rental market, it’s essential that state and local governments are doing their part to ensure safe and affordable travel trailers for the people of Alaska,” the association said in a statement.
“By encouraging tourism, the trailer industry supports the tourism economy and provides the opportunity for more people to visit Alaska.”
If you’d like to get involved in the travel trailer industry, visit www.
TravelersBusinessManagement.com and find a local rental agent.
The Travelers is a registered trade association of the travel trailers industry.
It’s the world’s largest travel trailer association, representing more than 4,000 companies in more than 100 countries.
In the meantime, the Alaska travel trailer owners association has a number of resources on their website for travelers to get information on renting and leasing a travel trailer.