April 29, 2009
Coupled with similar announcements from Royal Caribbean International, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises, Alaska can expect up to 120,000 fewer cruise visitors in 2010. Out of a volume of 1,033,000 cruise visitors in 2008, this represents a decline of 12 percent.
"This will have an obvious and painful impact on businesses across Alaska," said Ron Peck, president and COO of the nonprofit tourism marketing association. "It's extremely unfortunate when we see four lines reducing service to our state. Hundreds of businesses especially small, Alaska-based businesses will feel this where it hurts."
NCL and other lines have attributed the reduced capacity to the $50 head tax imposed on cruise visitors in 2006, along with the weak economy.
The impacts will be felt well beyond what many Alaskans think of as cruise territory Southeast Alaska. A substantial number of cruise visitors also take the Alaska Railroad and motorocoaches to experience Denali, Fairbanks and other parts of Alaska.
"This could mean a reduction of as much as 25 percent for some visitor businesses in Southcentral and Interior Alaska," Peck said.
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