Joint Resolution Seeks to
Protect Alaska's Vital Tourist Industry
March 02, 2008
SJR 12 passed out of Senate State Affairs Committee on Friday
after deliberation and public testimony with all committee members
voting "do pass." Sen. Gene Therriault, R-North
Pole, introduced this resolution to put the legislature on record
as opposing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Bureau
of Customs and Border Protection's proposed new interpretation
of the Passenger Vessel Services Act of June 19, 1886.
The new interpretation and rule change would require all foreign-flagged
cruise ships to stop at least 48 hours in foreign ports.
The amount of time spent in foreign ports would have to equal
more than 50 percent of the total time spent in U.S. ports of
"This proposed rule change could have a devastating impact
on the economies of coastal and inland communities who are visited
each year by cruise ship passengers," Therriault said.
All of the larger cruise ships that visit Alaska are foreign
flag ships and those that start and end their voyage in a U.S.
port would be affected by the rule change.
"The rule change could force cruise ship operators to reduce
the number of cruise ship stops in Alaska and the length of time
those ships stay in ports of call, and possibly force them to
eliminate visits to some Alaskan ports altogether," Therriault
According to the Department of Commerce, Community & Economic
Development about 158 voyages to Alaska with roughly 349,000
passengers would be affected by the change. That means
a potential loss of about $222 million in passenger spending
and $17.5 million in cruise ship passenger taxes. Corporate
and gambling taxes paid to the state would also decline.
"This resolution, if passed by the house and senate, would
put the legislature formally on record as opposing a rule change
that would be detrimental to a key industry in our state,"
Therriault said. "The tourism industry provides approximately
40,000 jobs and significant revenue to many Alaskan-owned and
operated business. We need to present a united voice and
protect this vital industry in Alaska."
The resolution opposes the rule change and alternatively requests
that Alaska be deemed exempt from the rule if it should become
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