Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced an initiative to aid the state’s tourism, hospitality, and ancillary businesses in the face of another devastating year without tourism.
The governor acknowledged that in mid-April, time is short. The window is closing.
The plan involves a grand marketing campaign across America to convince independent travelers to come to Alaska, grants for tourism and hospitality businesses and relief to communities.
He also said he’s ready to take legal action against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention if the conditional sail order is not lifted.
“We can no longer wait for the federal government to act and support our communities and businesses that rely on tourism, namely those who come to Alaska by cruise ship. Alaska was anticipated to welcome 1.3 million tourists by cruise ship before the pandemic shut that down. The combined total economic loss from a canceled cruise ship season in 2020 and 2021 amounts to $6 billion, with 2,180 businesses at direct risk – many of which are small family owned businesses,” Dunleavy said.
“My administration is taking necessary steps to help Alaskans, starting with putting forth an aggressive aid package and seriously considering filing legal action against the CDC if the conditional sail order is not lifted. Our communities need our help now more than ever.”
Governor Dunleavy’s proposal to rescue the 2021 Alaska tourism season includes:
- Aggressive marketing campaign to attract Americans to Alaska
- Direct federal COVID funds to one of the largest tourism campaigns in state history.
- Relief to tourism-dependent businesses
- Direct federal COVID funds to provide grants to tourism businesses and create traveler incentives.
- Gather feedback from tourism-dependent communities
- Lt. Governor Meyer and members of the Dunleavy administration will travel through Southeast, Denali, Kenai Peninsula, and the Mat-Su Valley to listen to community groups on their needs and report findings to the legislature.
- Defend Alaska in court against federal cruise ship restraints
- Withhold the right to pursue litigation against the CDC’s conditional sail order and the callous disregard of Alaskans’ livelihoods and wellbeing.
- Demand an end to the Passenger Vessel Services Act (PVSA)
- Signed SJR 9, urging the United States Congress to exempt cruise ships from the PVSA for the period during which Canadian ports are closed to cruise ships carrying more than 100 people.
Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon said that without tourism, the city takes a $10 million hit to the city’s sales tax, and a total of $26 million hit in revenue.