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Meet Greatland Adventures Owner Steve Busby

There once was a man and his van…

Steve Busby’s passion has always been to showcase the beauty of Alaska to visitors. He started Greatland Adventures to operate boutique-style guided tours and was a pioneer of northern lights tourism in Anchorage, Alaska. 

Steve and his team pride themselves on hiring only the highest-quality guides and professional staff, and Greatland Adventures is a winner of Visit Anchorage’s Tour Operator of the Year, recognizing this stellar business for excellence in product or service, contributing to the visitor industry and enhancing Anchorage’s image as a visitor destination.

To Steve Busby, choosing a tour company for vacations is about more than a price tag, and more like a travel companion. Steve’s vision of Greatland Adventures has attracted some of the best tour guides in the field and in doing so, provides the best possible experience for guests visiting from around the world.

Q: How did you start Greatland Adventures? What was your vision?

I started Greatland Adventures in 2011 out of a desire to parlay a love for guiding tours into a career. Working as a tour guide is a wonderful job, but is often seasonal, and the pay is typically well below other professions that require the same skill set.

I had been guiding various tour companies around North America for many years. When I came to Alaska for work in the summer of 2005, I instantly knew I wanted to spend as much time here as possible. In the summers between 2008-2011, I was guiding wilderness excursions in Alaska for German guests; extremely physical and tiring but also very rewarding. I really enjoyed being outside every day to witness the beauty of Alaska in a way that few people are fortunate enough to experience, and my guests kept asking me why I didn’t have my own tour company. I hadn’t thought much about it before, but the question kept coming, so I figured maybe they saw something in me that I hadn’t seen before. In 2011, I saved up $5,000 of my guide wages, bought a used 4×4 van, and took the leap into entrepreneurship. 

anchorage northern lights

My vision when I started the company was very different than it is today. In the beginning, I simply wanted to make more money doing a job I love, but I was extremely naive about the effort it would take to succeed. At this point many years later, I feel fortunate to have transformed that vision beyond myself and into its current form at Greatland Adventures.  

Today, Greatland Adventures’ company mission statement is to make the world a better place by sharing our love of Alaska with guests, by providing a high quality of life for employees, and by being an integral part of a vibrant local community.  Our company vision statement is also simple: to be a driving force towards a sustainable future that views the natural beauty and wild places of Alaska as valuable natural resources worthy of being protected and shared. 

Q: What makes Greatland Adventures different from other tour operators in Alaska? 

There are so many excellent companies in Alaska, but I can tell you what I believe makes us great at what we do. First, we value our tour guides as the most integral part of a successful tour. We only hire year-round residents of Alaska who have exceptional local knowledge and great people skills. Our guides are informative, friendly, and fun to spend time with!

A good tour guide can elevate a guest’s experience to a higher level, and a lesser-quality guide can ruin even the most well-planned tour. Second, we are a 100% customer-driven company.  We are impeccably honest and fair in our dealings with our guests and deliver on our promises while owning problems when they inevitably arise. Finally, we are easy to work with! Guest satisfaction is at the forefront of everything we do.

To be continued with the second and third installment of a conversation with Steve.

Anchorage Northern Lights Tour

Duration
Full Day
Season
Winter, Spring, Fall
Departure Location
Anchorage

Journey to view and photograph the Aurora Borealis in the greater Anchorage area.

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Fairbanks Northern Lights Tour

Duration
Full Day
Season
Winter, Spring
Departure Location
Fairbanks

Join us and experience the magic of Aurora Borealis in the greater Fairbanks area.

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Matanuska Glacier Summer Tour

Duration
Full Day
Season
Summer, Fall
Departure Location
Anchorage

Explore the amazing blue glacier ice of Matanuska Glacier. We generally spend two hours and walk three miles on the ice. Includes round-trip transportation from Anchorage.

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