Expert: Number of Alaska cruise visitors expected to grow
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The number of cruise ship visitors in Alaska is primed to make a sizeable jump in the next two years, a cruise industry expert said.
John Binkley, the president of Cruise Lines International Association Alaska, said his organization has predicted that the number of cruise ship visitors will jump 19 percent between 2017 and 2019, the Juneau Empire reported Wednesday. Binkley said that would mean 200,000 more visitors in Alaska.
About 1.1 million cruise visitors came to Alaska in 2017, which was the most in state history, he said. That was on 33 ships and just under 500 voyages. In 2018, the number of voyages should jump to 519, which would then result in 1.17 million visitors, according to the organization’s prediction.
“This industry is strong, it’s growing,” Binkley said Feb 14 at the Southeast Conference’s Mid-Session Summit.
In 2019, the organization expects 37 ships to make 567 voyages and bring 1.31 million people to Alaska. That represents a 50 percent growth since 2010, when 876,000 cruise passengers came to Alaska. Binkley reported that cruise visitors in 2017 spent $176.6 million in Juneau in 2017, which the organization projects will grow to above $200 million in 2019.
This precipitous rise is the result of major cruise lines adding larger ships and sending more ships to Alaska, Binkley said.
Meilani Schijvens, director of the research firm Rain Coast Data, said almost all of these visitors come through Juneau. More tourists visit Juneau in the summer than any other city in the state, she said.
Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com