August 21, 2009

Alaska tourism expected to decline further

Alaska tourism officials say the state's struggling tourism industry is expected to shrink even further in 2010 because of the cruise ship industry.

State tourism leaders said cruise ship operators are sending fewer cruise ships to Alaska because of increased taxes and environmental restrictions, likely resulting in a decline of nearly 140,000 cruise ship passengers, The Anchorage Daily News reported Friday.

Stan Stephens, owner of Stan Stephens Cruises, said at Thursday's Southcentral Tourism Summit in Anchorage that state officials should bolster tourism marketing to prevent further declines.

I learned if I was going to survive, I had to spend a lot of money on marketing, Stephens said.

Researcher Susan Bell of the McDowell Group consulting firm said with 2009's drop in tourism and a similar drop predicted for 2010, action must be taken.

Alaskans need to figure out what to do to bring people back, Bell told the Daily News.