Alaska ranked fifth in the U.S. in direct cruise industry economic impact, after Florida, California, Texas and New York. Skagway greeted 817,000 cruise visitors in 2016.

A recently released study found that Alaska is the premier cruise destination market in the United States.

During 2016, Alaska ports received about 3.3 million cruise passenger visits, approximately 63 percent of all port-of-call cruise passenger visits at U.S. ports, according to “The Contribution of the International Cruise Industry to the U.S. Economy,” prepared by Business Research & Economic Advisors for the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). Since individual passengers make several port-of-call visits on any given itinerary, passenger visits are approximately three times greater than the number of passengers taking cruises to Alaska.

There were 157,000 embarkations on turnaround cruises between Alaska and Vancouver, Canada.

The three busiest ports – Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway – accounted for over 80 percent of all passenger visits to Alaska. Juneau accounted for 29 percent with just over 1 million visits, Ketchikan accounted for 28 percent with 948,000 visits and Skagway accounted for 24 percent with 817,000 visits. The remaining 19 percent were distributed among seven additional locations and accounted for approximately 535,000 visits.

As one of the least populous states in the nation, resident cruise passengers in the state totaled 9,000 and accounted for 0.1 percent of U.S.-sourced passengers during 2016, making Alaska one of the nation’s largest net importers of cruise passengers.

Relative to 2014, Alaska experienced an 11 percent increase in passenger embarkations and a 4.2 percent increase in cruise passenger and crew visitors, accounting for 20.3 percent of all passenger and crew visits in the U.S. These visits produced an estimated $524 million in passenger and crew onshore spending, an 8.3 percent increase over 2014 and accounting for nearly $107 per visit.

Alaska ranked fifth in cruise industry direct expenditures with $1.07 billion, or 4.9 percent of the direct expenditures generated by the cruise industry in the United States. Tourism-related businesses, such as tour operators, airlines, hotels, etc., received approximately $678 million, approximately 64 percent of the industry’s direct expenditures in Alaska. This total excludes the wages and salaries paid to cruise line employees in the state.

Another $59 million was spent with businesses in five additional business segments: food processors and petroleum refiners and distributors within the manufacturing sector; and employment agencies, trucking companies and utilities in the nonmanufacturing sector.

These direct expenditures generated total economic impacts of 19,842 jobs and $991 million in income throughout the Alaska economy during 2016. These impacts accounted for 5.1 percent of national employment impact and 4.8 percent of the national wage impact.

You can read the entire study here.

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