Another season without tourism in Southeast Alaska is simply not an option

House passes SJR9, urging federal officials to allow summer cruise ship season in Alaska

JUNEAU u2013 The House of Representatives today passed Senate Joint Resolution 9, urging the federal government to get out of the way and allow cruise ships to visit Alaska this summer.

nnThe 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. n

nu201cCoastal Alaska’s economy relies on tourism from cruise ships, which brought 90 percent of our visitors in the year before the pandemic,u201d said Rep. Dan Ortiz (I-Ketchikan). u201cAnother 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.u201dn

nu201cDuring the pandemic, Alaskans have found creative ways to keep their businesses floating and communities safe,u201d added Rep. Sara Hannan (D-Juneau). u201cThe 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.u201dn

nu201cTourism is a critical piece of Alaskau2019s economy, generating more than $214 million in state and municipal revenue and accounting for over $2 billion in visitor spending,u201d said Rep. Andi Story (D-Juneau). u201cWe 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.u201dn

nSJR 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.n