palin_letter

A letter with Gov. Sarah Palin’s image is part of a direct mail campaign by the Alaska Travel Industry Association.

Gov. Sarah Palin is personally inviting Americans from all over the country to visit her home state. Well, sort of. Letters bearing her picture, on letterhead that reads “Office of the Governor” and encouraging people to sign up for a free Alaska travel guide, have begun reappearing in mailboxes around the nation as part of an appeal from the Alaska Travel Industry Association.

The tourism campaign started in August, but it was suspended because of Ms. Palin’s candidacy, only to ramp up again after the election. The letters, bearing Ms. Palin’s picture, cannot help but elevate her already high political profile.

“This is nothing new that we’ve been doing,” said Ron Peck, president and chief operating officer of the A.T.I.A., adding that the trade organization has been sending out notes from the state’s governors for 20 years. The direct mail campaign was originally designed and approved in the spring, according to Bill McCalister, Ms. Palin’s communications director.

Nonetheless, that August mailing had a 20 percent higher response rate after Ms. Palin’s nomination, which Mr. Peck said was “absolutely” related to her newly elevated profile. “I believe that’s a big reason,” he said.

But Ms. Palin’s star power isn’t likely to prompt a mass pilgrimage to Alaska, especially given the current economic concerns, Mr. Peck cautioned. “Planning for a trip to Alaska sometimes is a year, two years in advance” process, he said. “So we’re excited about the fact that responses are up, but that doesn’t necessarily relate to travel.”

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