It’s going to get real: State Department advises ‘don’t travel on cruise ships’

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Juneau

Brace for impact: Alaska’s tourism economy is about to take a big hit, and that means Alaska’s economy — from Fairbanks to Ketchikan — will likely suffer this summer.

Why? The U.S. State Department has just published an advisory that says U.S. citizens, particularly those with underlying health conditions, “should not travel by cruise ship.”

This serious admonition from the highest level of government is bound to have repercussions. After all, the tourism industry is Alaska’s second largest primary employer.

“CDC notes increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment. In order to curb the spread of COVID-19, many countries have implemented strict screening procedures that have denied port entry rights to ships and prevented passengers from disembarking.  In some cases, local authorities have permitted disembarkation but subjected passengers to local quarantine procedures. While the U.S. government has evacuated some cruise ship passengers in recent weeks, repatriation flights should not be relied upon as an option for U.S. citizens under the potential risk of quarantine by local authorities.  

“This is a fluid situation. CDC notes that older adults and travelers with underlying health issues should avoid situations that put them at increased risk for more severe disease. This entails avoiding crowded places, avoiding non-essential travel such as long plane trips, and especially avoiding embarking on cruise ships.  Passengers with plans to travel by cruise ship should contact their cruise line companies directly for further information and continue to monitor the Travel.state.gov website and see the latest information from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/cruise/index.html

Alaska saw more than two million out-of-state visitors last year, more than 1.1 million of them on cruise ships.

Until the Wuhan virus hit, 1.44 million cruise ship passengers were expected this year, a six percent increase. An additional 10 ships were expected to make 29 additional port calls this year.

Alaska’s visitor industry accounts for more than 43,300 annual jobs, with peak employment at 52,000 jobs. The industry generated $1.5 billion in labor income, and $4.5 billion in economic output in 2017.

14 COMMENTS

  1. Add to that the fact that with Saudi Arabia and Russia now in a “gas war” over oil prices, Alaska Crude is certain to take a big hit. Not a good omen.

  2. One has to assume this advisory was largely predicated on the cruises currently taking place from the U.S. to foreign nations. In the Spring and Summer months the focus will be from the East coast to Eastern Canada and West coast to Alaska. Little or no chance of quarantine in a foreign nation. The advisory is poorly written and not forward looking. Nationally it puts hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk.

    The number of people on a cruise in any given day is small compared to those who fly. The number that board a cruise compared to those who board a flight is a very tiny fraction, as most ships only board two to four times each month and planes board several times each day. And there are vastly more planes.

    One has to wonder if this isn’t about the State Dept. pulling the rug out from under Trump one more time. On Saturday, President Trump said cruising was safe and it was an important industry. At the same time, the U.S.Surgon General said that if you do not have a suppressed immune system or other serious health issue, you should be just fine on a cruise.

    Once again mixed signals, perhaps politically motivated at the expense of jobs and the economy.

  3. “Since we got rid of the NGOs there have been no new migrants coming,” one man said at the Moria village roadblock. “Is that a coincidence? No. That’s it, we’re done, we’re taking back control.” The farmers themselves had decisively expelled the meddling NGOs.
    The subject was the flood of Syrian immigrants into Greece, which was facilitated by some “do good” Non-Government Organizations, who were facilitating illegal migrants. Greece is saturated with immigrants and local folks have had enough, farmers forcefully blocking them from entry.
    Alaska has it’s own problems with NGOs. They’ve come up here stirring up resistance to just about everything which could provide more income for Alaska. “No Pebble” “Save Our Salmon” “Recall Dunleavy” “Alaska’s Fair Share” and whatever. That’s correct, it appears that all of the above were instigated by outside interests. Why? Because Communist China has a vested interest in tanking America’s economy, and is financing some of them. Because it brings the NGOs DONATIONS. Because Dunleavy isn’t having anything to do with their agendas. Because forcing the oil companies out of Alaska will hurt America’s energy independence.
    If you support any of the problem NGOs, you’re part of Alaska’s problems. We don’t need them to tell us how to run our state. We’re all grown up and can think and reason for ourselves about what we should be doing. Their interests, their agendas are not any of Alaska’s interests or agendas.
    The Corona virus, which is killing tourism, coupled with Saudi Arabia’s newest oil price war, and the probable Permanent Fund losses from the market meltdown is underscoring Alaska’s vulnerability from only a few major sources of income.
    The NGOs are only fanning the flames. They need to be gone!

  4. No kidding? It’s almost like there is actually a pandemic being spread by cruise ship passengers happening. Anyone shocked by this should be kept away from sharp objects.

  5. Note to Do-Nothing- Legislature: It is about to get real – Crude oil futures are down to about $35 a barrel this morning.

  6. May we assume from this information that the locals’ perennial griping about cruise ships and passengers is a thing of the past?

  7. the potential downturn in the economy will not stop the legislators from spending money.

  8. This may be the ideal time to rid ourselves of DST clock-meddling. Several years ago we had a bill in the state legislature to abolish the time changes. The cruise ship industry hired a lobbyist to oppose it, and succeeded in getting the bill squashed before ever getting a vote. I don’t detest the cruise ship industry, but i do detest what they did back then. The tough financial times the industry is facing now is no doubt bad for us, but this is the least likely occasion for the industry to pony up resources to defend the practice of meddling with the clocks twice a year.

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