Alaska Tour Operators and Officials Hopeful Their Business Is Coming Out of Hibernation

Float Plane Operator Holly Johnson told KTOO “We’ve just been sort of holding things together with duct tape, as you do up here,”

Tour operators, officials, and store owners are all hopeful that the coming summer season will be a normal one for all. However, there is a feeling of caution and fear that another variant or actions by government officials could set things back.


Rado station KTOO in Alaska reports that even though cruise lines are making bold predictions about a banner year for tourism in Southeast Alaska, Alaskans are more cautious after two years of the pandemic.


Josh Carroll, a VP with the Royal Caribbean Group, on a videoconference with Alaska businesses and reporters last week was excited and told the group that this year could be "really our biggest and best Alaska season yet, but that's assuming the protocols allow the operation of that volume." He went on to say, "We have, as a Royal Caribbean group, and as an industry, we have the most ships deployed to Alaska that we've ever had in our history."


Some operators are moving ahead with caution. Dennis McDonnell with Alaska Coach Tours said, "We're hopeful and expecting a season, probably 20 to 30% better than it was last year."


Some operators are moving ahead with caution. Dennis McDonnell with Alaska Coach Tours said, "We're hopeful and expecting a season, probably 20 to 30% better than it was last year."

In Juneau, Tourism Manager Alexandra Pierce told the group that city leaders plan to make 13 million dollars on the passenger head tax, and it will take a million passengers to make that close to pre-pandemic numbers.

According to Pierce, that's the city's best-educated guess.

She added, "I don't know what capacity the ships will come at," Pierce said. "But I think after a year of no cruise season, and last year with an extremely, extremely limited one, this will feel like business as usual for Juneau residents."



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