By Vicki O'Brien
April 02, 2006
It is my understanding that one of the reasons tour companies offer steep discounts to locals is to ingratiate themselves to the folks who live here. To give us a break or say thank you, if you will, for our allowing our town to play host to hundreds of thousands of visitors for nearly half of the year. On a daily basis our town's population swells to nearly double its size, just from cruise ship traffic. Some people, I believe understandably, are put off - to put it mildly - by this invasion. Some tour companies and other seasonal merchants understand and offer locals a discount. It's an act of good will on their part, and who can blame them! Please correct me if I'm wrong on any or all these points.
Ketchikan, in some regards, is not unlike the large resorts and theme parks Down South. For me and my family, it's a dream to go to Disney World. My five year old has his heart set on it. But, just like the Trip Of A Lifetime to Alaska for some, I'm going to have to save for a few years to make this dream a reality for my little boy. Any place that sees it has a market for tourism will naturally and eventually exploit that "resource" to the best of its ability. Disney World does it, Ketchikan does it. It's simply supply and demand and what the market will bear.
The tour companies here charge whatever the market will bear because they're here to make money. Whether they're locally-owned or are based out of places the rest of us have only dreamed of visiting, tour companies make bank on this industry because our economic system allows it and because people who come here are willing to pay it. Yes, please, Ms. Deaton: as Marie suggests, do your research and find the best value you can! There are LOTS of options out there. You and your mother are in for the trip of a lifetime. I hope you learn all you can and above all enjoy yourself in the First City!
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