Sitka is Alaska’s 4th most popular cruise port, welcoming 23 percent of cruise visitors.
The seasonal cruise industry injected $15.6 million into the Sitka economy last year, contributed $3 million to local government in taxes and fees and created many jobs in cruise line hotel and tour operations, according to a new economic impact study conducted by the McDowell Group.
Sitka remains the 4th most popular cruise port in Alaska, capturing 23 percent – 233,600 passengers in 2007 – of all Alaska cruise passengers. As the town lacks a deep water dock, all passengers must be lightered from ship to shore. Sitka is well known for its Russian-American history, and unique Outer Coast scenery. Shore excursion activities enjoyed by passengers include whale watching cruises, St. Michael’s cathedral, the Russian Bishop’s house, Sitka National Park, the Raptor Center and sport fishing.
The cruise industry purchased goods and services from 73 Sitka businesses. Statewide, the cruise industry brought $1.35 billion in to the Alaska economy. Cruise passenger spending directly or indirectly counts 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 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.