Travel Juneau asks Biden administration for aid in 2021 visitor season

Published: Feb. 7, 2021 at 8:09 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Travel Juneau, a nonprofit dedicated to Juneau’s tourism industry, has sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking him and his wife to visit Juneau amid concerns over Alaska’s 2021 cruise season. The non-profit is asking the president to implement a temporary waiver on the law requiring foreign-flagged ships to dock in Canada while traveling between Alaska and the Lower 48.

The letter comes in response to an announcement from Canada last week that it would be banning cruise ships from docking in its harbors through 2021 due to concerns around COVID-19. Because of that law, the Passenger Vessel Services Act, it’s likely that decision by Canada will effectively stop most, if not all, cruise traffic from coming to Alaska.

“Combined with the ongoing Canadian highway border closures, Alaska is effectively cut off from almost all visitor traffic, putting us at a severe disadvantage against drive-to destinations in the Lower 48,” wrote Travel Juneau President & CEO Liz Perry in the letter.

Perry added that the tourism industry in Juneau represents around 12% of its economy, and that Travel Juneau’s partners lost around 95% of their 2020 revenues because of the pandemic and lowered tourism. She argued that the CDC needs to lay out criteria for lifting travel restrictions so that Juneau residents and businesses can have a tangible benchmark to work towards. She also requested a temporary waiver to the PVSA so that foreign-flagged ships could still visit the state.

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