Governor pitches tourism aid initiative to sell Alaska as destination during pandemic

A cruise ship docked in Juneau.
A cruise ship docked in Juneau.
Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 2:10 PM AKDT|Updated: Apr. 9, 2021 at 4:13 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Gov. Mike Dunleavy is pitching Alaska as a safe destination for travelers during the COVID-19 pandemic and is urging that cruise ships be allowed to visit the state this summer.

The message was part of the launch of a tourism aid initiative on Friday, with more details to be released next week.

Dunleavy announces tourism aid package for Alaska

Watch live: Gov. Mike Dunleavy is announcing an aid package that aims to help to struggling Alaska tourism businesses.

Posted by Alaska's News Source on Friday, April 9, 2021

Dunleavy will propose that tourism and hospitality businesses receive some of Alaska’s federal COVID-19 relief as they face a second straight summer without cruise ships. Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer has been charged with speaking to chambers of commerce and Alaska businesses about what they need before the aid package is finalized next week.

Dunleavy said there will also be a nationwide advertising campaign to sell Alaska to potential visitors. There would be a focus on Alaska as an unforgettable destination and that the state has high vaccination rates and low COVID-19 case numbers.

“There won’t be a person in this country who won’t know Alaska after this,” he said about the campaign.

Alaska faces two impediments to cruise ships coming in the summer of 2021. The first is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not authorized them to sail again and the second is that Canada is not allowing ships to stop in its waters.

Under maritime law, foreign ships must stop in a second country when traveling between two U.S. ports.

RELATED: Governor writes to the White House, warning of another lost cruise ship season’s impacts to Alaska

The governor, joining with the Alaska Legislature and the congressional delegation, is asking that Congress and the White House temporarily waive that requirement during the pandemic. He is also asking that the CDC allow cruise ships to start sailing immediately, saying that Alaska has managed the pandemic well and that it is safe to visit.

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