Cruise industry supports 3,000 jobs in Southcentral Alaska and adds $102 million to Anchorage economy
The seasonal cruise industry injected $102 million into the Anchorage economy last year, contributed $8.9 million to local government in taxes and fees and created 596 jobs in cruise line hotel and tour operations, according to a new economic impact study conducted by the McDowell Group.
Approximately 370,000 cruise passengers visited Anchorage in 2007. Visitors to Anchorage fall into one of several travel patterns: pre- or post-cruise land tour guests; travelers visiting independently before or after a cruise; and those traveling on their way between the airport and their cruise ship port of Whittier or Seward. A train station was recently added to the Anchorage airport, used by land tour participants on their way to or from the Interior. Popular activities among cruise visitors to Anchorage are city tours, shopping, and museums, including the Alaska Native Heritage Center.
The cruise industry purchased goods and services from 849 Anchorage businesses.
The industry directly or indirectly supports and 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 statewide.
“What we see is an industry that plays and 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.”
Forty percent of cruise visitors cross the Gulf of Alaska either to begin or end their Alaska vacation, 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 or 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. Seventy-seven percent of the visitors shop in local stores.
Twenty-two percent of all cruise passengers participated in a land tour. Primary destinations are Anchorage, Denali, Fairbanks, Talkeetna, Kenai Peninsula, Girdwood, Tok, Glennallen and the Matanuska-Susitna Valley.
The cruise lines do business with 2,175 Alaska vendors and contributed $2.3 million to 222 non-profit and charitable organizations. The non-profits range from church groups to social service organization to scholarship programs.