Rep. Ortiz: 'Today's legislation is a testament to the persistence of Alaskans who never gave up on saving our state's tourism jobs'
JUNEAU — Alaska House Coalition members welcomed the passage of federal legislation H.R. 1318, which will allow cruise lines to return to Alaska without first stopping in Canada.
The “Alaska Tourism Recovery Act” will temporarily waive the Passenger Vessel Services Act. This required for foreign-flagged cruise ships to stop in Canada before entering Alaska, delivering a severe blow to the state’s tourism season following Canada’s decision to ban large cruise ships until February of 2022.
“This is a lifeline to the Southeast Alaska economy,” said Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins (D-Sitka). “There are so many people hurting from the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on our economy. Today is signal that we’re on the road to recovery, and I thank the congressional delegation for their work.”
“Today’s legislation is a testament to the persistence of Alaskans who never gave up on saving our state’s tourism jobs,” said Rep. Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan). “I want to truly thank Representative Don Young, Senator Dan Sullivan, and Senator Lisa Murkowski, for the incredible job they did in quickly getting this over the finish line.”
“I could not be more excited about the news this morning,” said Rep. Sara Hannan (D-Juneau). “Another season without tourism in our coastal communities was not an option and I’m thrilled that soon many Alaskans will be getting back to work.”
“Tourism brings in over $2 billion in visitor spending,” said Rep. Andi Story (D-Juneau). “After the devastating impact of COVID-19 on Alaska’s economy, this welcome news represents a chance for our communities that rely on tourism to get back on their feet.”
The Alaska Legislature passed Senate Joint Resolution 9 last month, which urged federal officials to allow a summer cruise ship season in the state. H.R. 1318 has passed both the United States Congress and will now go to the President’s desk for signature.