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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 call.
"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 explained. 
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 law.


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25th Alaska State Legislature
Republican Caucus


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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska