Fish, timber, visitors and minerals are fundamental for the economy of Prince of Wales Island. While resource-based components are relatively steady, the visitor industry is taking a greater role.
Access to the island and ease of travel on the island are essential in the growth of the visitor sector. The Inter-Island Ferry Authority’s daily sailings between Hollis and Ketchikan provide a link for vehicles and
people—more than 44,000 people and 9,800 vehicles in 2016. The island's unique road system, ranging across more than 1,500 miles, interlocks communities and makes a number of natural resource bases accessible—from timber to hiking trails.
Several air carriers using floatplanes provide scheduled and charter service to POW communities. Businesses and residents on the northeast side of POW maintain ties to Wrangell, to the north on another island. Chartered boats and floatplanes link Coffman Cove to Wrangell. Air carriers using wheeled aircraft take off from Klawock Airport's paved runway to regional commercial hubs such as Ketchikan and Sitka.
The service sector flourishes in areas from fishing charters to lodging—as seen in ads and the directory in this book. Retailers ride the growth curve as more and more people come to the island to see a unique Alaskan setting and friendly communities. A survey found that ferry-borne visitors' average stay is 13 days.