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Strong tourism year expected as industry rebounds from recession

Bradners’ Economic Report | April 18, 2013

Tourism will be strong this summer, driven by a rise in cruise ship visitors that are expected. Estimates are that 1 million tourists will come north on cruises, the largest number since 2008 and 2009. In 2011 there were about 940,000 cruise visitors, the Alaska Cruise Association said. Most of these will be in Southeast Alaska but more than 350,000 are expected to take voyages across the Gulf of Alaska, which is traffic that feeds the land tours to Denali

National Park and the Interior. About 60 percent of visitors to Fairbanks come on a tour, local tourism officials said. Small tour operators say their advance booking are running ahead of last year, some by 20 percent.

In Fairbanks, 2012 hotel/motel room receipts hit a record in 2012 at $58.69 million, up from $53.6 million in 2011, or 9.6 percent. In Anchorage, lo- cal hotel “bed tax” collections, which are based on room receipts, were up 6.5 percent. The previous high year was 2008, at $57.28 million. The data is from the Fairbanks North Star Borough’s quarterly economic report.

All quarters of 2012 in Fairbanks exceeded 2011 in room rental receipts but the fourth quarter in Fairbanks was particularly strong, up 19.6 per- cent, with $8.88 million in receipts compared with $7.42 million paid in fourth quarter 2011.

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