House passes SJR9, urging federal officials to allow summer cruise ship season in Alaska
The resolution calls on Congress to grant an exemption to a federal law that requires cruise ships to stop at a foreign port in order to sail to Alaska. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada has banned cruise ships carrying more than 100 people from sailing in Canadian waters, effectively preventing a tourism season here.
“Coastal Alaska’s economy relies on tourism from cruise ships, which brought 90 percent of our visitors in the year before the pandemic,” said Rep. Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan). “Another lost season could be a fatal blow to many businesses hanging on by a thread, and I implore our federal partners to find common-sense alternatives that help businesses get back on their feet.”
“During the pandemic, Alaskans have found creative ways to keep their businesses floating and communities safe,” added Rep. Sara Hannan (D-Juneau). “The federal government also needs to get creative and find a way to bring back cruises this summer. Another season without tourism in Southeast Alaska is simply not an option.”
“Tourism is a critical piece of Alaska’s economy, generating more than $214 million in state and municipal revenue and accounting for over $2 billion in visitor spending,” said Rep. Andi Story (D-Juneau). “We need tourism to return to Alaska for our state to enter a recovery phase that allows businesses, families, and individuals to get back to work and reach solid ground again.”
SJR 9 passed on a 38-2 vote after an amendment on the floor. The resolution will return to the Senate for final approval and will then be sent to the White House, Alaska Congressional Delegation, and other members of the 117th U.S. Congress.