The cruise industry continues to play a vital role in Alaska’s economy, bringing $1.35 billion into the State’s economy doing business with 2,175 Alaska vendors

The seasonal cruise industry injected $1.35 billion into the Alaska economy in 2007, according to a new economic impact study conducted by McDowell Group.

Cruise passenger spending directly or indirectly accounted for half of the economic activity, followed by cruise line purchases and wages. The industry generated an estimated $100 million for state and local governments, with half going to the state and half to local governments.

Southeast Alaska receives about half (47 percent) of the total cruise passenger and cruise expenditures, followed by Southcentral Alaska with 26 percent and Interior/Other Alaska at 16 percent. Approximately 11 percent of expenditures have a statewide impact and cannot be attributed to any one region of the state.

The industry directly or indirectly supports an annual average of 14,500 full-time jobs in Alaska, including 7,000 in Southeast Alaska, 3,000 in Southcentral Alaska, 2,500 in Interior Alaska and 2,000 statewde.

“What we see is an industry that plays an increasingly vital role in the state’s economy,” said John Binkley, Alaska Cruise Association (ACA) President. “It also has grown more complex, affecting a wide variety of economic sectors.”

40 percent of cruise visitors cross the Gulf of Alaska to either begin or end their Alaska vacations, a 23 percent increase over the past five years. These passengers cruise one way and fly one way, entering or leaving from the ports of Seward and Whittier via Anchorage.

McDowell Group visitor survey research has found a high participation in shore tours. Most shore tours are owned by Alaskans. On average, 90 percent of the visitors purchased at least one tour, with the most popular ones being city/sightseeing, rail tours, wildlife viewing and cultural activities. 77 percent of the visitors go shopping.

22 percent of all cruise passengers participated in a land tour. Primary destinations are Anchorage, Denali, Fairbanks, Talkeetna, Kenai Peninsula, Girdwood, Tok, Glennallen and the Yukon.

The cruise lines do business with 2,175 Alaska vendors and supported 222 non-profit and charitable organizations. The non-profits range from church groups to social service organization to scholarship programs.

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