For the first time in seven years, Alaska welcomed its one millionth cruise ship visitor. The milestone visitors arrived on the Holland America Line ms Zaandam, which docked Friday morning in Juneau, Alaska, reports the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA).
In light of the occasion, Alaska’s Governor declared September 22, 2016, Alaska Cruise Ship Visitor Day. Visitor spending generates more than $4 billion in economic activity in Alaska, and cruise ships bring approximately half of all visitors to the state. Visitor spending in Juneau supports businesses, creates local jobs and accounts for 20% of sales taxes collected year-round, reports the government.
The cruise 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,” said CLIA Alaska President John Binkley. “We lost about 15% 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.”