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Study: Alaska has most cruise visitors in US

ANCHORAGE – Las Vegas and New York City have nothing on Alaska, at least when it comes to the number of tourists who show up on cruise ships.Travel Leaders Group collected national data from more than 1,000 U.S. travel agencies to identify the top cruise tourism destinations in the country between November 2013 and early December 2014.

Alaska not only topped Vegas and the Big Apple but also popular spots like Orlando, Maui, and literally everywhere else.

For the first time, the Last Frontier topped the list of destinations, with more than one-third of all cruise tours including a stop here.

“For the past decade and a half, Las Vegas and Orlando have jockeyed for the top spot in our survey,” said Barry Liben, chief executive officer of the group that conducted the research.

Liben pointed to the natural beauty as a big draw, something travelers can agree with even in the off season.

Visit Anchorage spokesperson Jack Bonney was reluctant to read much into the statistics.

He said it’s difficult to compare Alaska as a destination to cities like Las Vegas and Maui because the cruise group considered the entire state and not an individual destination.

“It’s like apples and oranges,” Bonney said, though he agrees that the state is gaining in popularity. “You take all these snapshots and they paint a pretty good picture for Alaska.”

Mindy Slavis said she plans on spending a week in Alaska from her Las Vegas home.  Along with her daughter, she plans to visit glaciers and to go dog sledding.

Comparing casino touring to the far North? “This is more exciting, much more exciting!” Slavis said of Alaska.

by: Lacie Grosvold, Multimedia Journalist,
Copyright © 2014, KTUU-TV
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