For the first time in seven years, Alaska welcomed its one millionth cruise ship visitor.
Wendy Yoisten from St Albert, Alberta, Canada with her husband John, arrived on the Holland America Line ms Zaandam, which docked this morning in Juneau, Alaska. Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott, Juneau Mayor Ken Koelsch, CLIA Alaska President John Binkley and a number of local officials and residents of Juneau surprised Mrs. Yoisten as she disembarked for the day.
Native dancers greeted the couple and Mrs. Yoisten received a medallion, plaque and basket of gifts from Alaska businesses.
“We are so excited to welcome you to Alaska and our capital city of Juneau,” said Binkley. “Your arrival is a significant milestone. Reaching one million cruise visitors this year demonstrates the health and bright future in our industry.”
Governor Walker issued a proclamation for the occasion, declaring September 22, 2016, Alaska Cruise Ship Visitor Day. In his remarks, Lt. Gov. Mallott recognized the proclamation, which states that visitor spending generates more than $4 billion in economic activity, helping all regions of our state. He added that cruise ships bring approximately half of all visitors to Alaska. Mayor Koelsch read a proclamation highlighting Juneau’s position as Alaska’s most popular cruise ship port. Koelsch noted that visitor spending supports Juneau businesses, creates local jobs and accounts for 20 percent of sales taxes collected year-round.
The industry is expected to bring even more visitors next year as Alaska continues to increase capacity. Holland America Line recently announced that it would be adding a seventh ship to the Alaska market next year. Seabourn has also announced that it will be returning to Alaska in 2017 for the first time in 15 years.
The last time Alaska saw more than 1,000,000 cruise visitors was 2009. “Following years of amazing growth, Alaska took a big hit,” Binkley said. “We lost about 15 percent of our market. Many businesses suffered and statewide, Alaska lost more than 5,000 jobs.
“Alaska is now seeing the benefits of the improved tax and regulatory environment enacted in 2010,” Binkley said. “Demand has also improved, following several years of significantly increased destination marketing. We have been able to build back our industry and all indications are that we will continue to grow.
“With our economic situation, the challenge now is to keep Alaska competitive with the rest of the world and to keep marketing programs robust,” Binkley said.
CLIA Alaska, formally the Alaska Cruise Association, was formed in 2007 as a not-for-profit organization whose membership includes the major cruise tour companies operating in Alaska.
About Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) – One Industry, One Voice
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, providing a unified voice and leading authority of the global cruise community. The association has 15 offices globally with representation in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australasia. CLIA supports policies and practices that foster a safe, secure, healthy and sustainable cruise ship environment for the more than 23 million passengers who cruise annually and is dedicated to promote the cruise travel experience. Members are comprised of the world's most prestigious ocean, river and specialty cruise lines; a highly trained and certified travel agent community; and cruise line suppliers and partners, including ports & destinations, ship development, suppliers and business services. The organization’s mission is to be the unified global organization that helps its members succeed by advocating, educating and promoting for the common interests of the cruise community. For more information, visit www.cruising.org or follow Cruise Lines International Association on CLIA Facebook and Twitter pages.