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Alaska tourism numbers up but leaders wary of less marketing


KENAI, Alaska (KTUU)

Preliminary numbers indicate a stellar year for Alaska tourism in 2016, but industry leaders warn a drop in state marketing support could be harmful.

The Alaska chapter of the Cruise Lines International Association says more than a million cruise ship passengers visited Alaska for the first time since 2009.

The Peninsula Clarion, citing the McDowell Group research firm, reports border crossings from Canada were up 13 percent and outbound flights between May and August were up 6 percent.

But visitor industry officials say state budget cuts will have an effect. Gov. Bill Walker reduced state support for tourism marketing from a budgeted $4.5 million to about $1.5 million.

The Alaska Travel Industry Association is working on a system that will allow the industry to pay for its own marketing.

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