One of the key projects that the Treasure America Team worked on this summer is an analysis of the potential for a successful tourism-based economy in Northern Alaska, specifically the town of Kaktovik. The report (available here) suggests that there is indeed enough potential for high-value tourism to give Kaktovik a significantly higher degree of economic independance than the alternative model – continued welfare-like dependance on oil extraction proceeds. Significant challenges, however, exist toward making this happen – most notably a complete lack of tourist infrastucture. The report concludes that with a high level of entreprenership and good publicity, the town has an opportunity to really make something of itself, achieve prosperity, and avoid the negatives that would inevitably come their way should drilling proceed in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
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