Gotta be grateful

The following editorial first ran Aug. 17 in the Ketchikan Daily News:

Gotta be grateful.

Positively grateful.

Too often it’s just the opposite: We look at what we don’t have, can’t have or are not going to get, and spend 90 percent of the time focused on that instead of on what we do have.

But not in Ketchikan when it comes to the tourism industry.

We’ve got tourists, thanks in great part to the cruise lines and the local leaders of days gone by who had a vision for economic development at the port. Specifically, their vision was of cruise ships coming into the community and populating it with customers; customers for the stores and the tours as well as other attractions.

Back then an attraction like zip lines weren’t even dreamed of for Ketchikan. Today, it’s one among many — Ketchikan’s old standard of fishing, plus go-carts, paddle boats and canoes. Pretty much if it’s been thought of, it’s been given a go here.

The tourism industry provides much of the power for the community’s economic engine.

So to hear that the influx of cruise-ship passengers has increased is very welcome news.

The number of passengers has gone up by 38,807, or 6.8 percent, between spring and the week ending Aug. 4 compared to the same period last year, Ketchikan City Manager Karl Amylon noted in a report to the City Council this week.

The increase means Ketchikan welcomed 612,573 passengers by the second week in August. A year ago, that number was 573,766.

With eight weeks remaining to be tallied and about seven weeks before the final ship calls this cruise season, the city holds out hope that it might reach its projected 8-percent increase over 2012.

But as we think about achieving that projection, we can’t forget how much the tourists who came so far mean to Ketchikan.

Their presence has provided jobs, the all-important key to unlocking a prospering economy.

It’s more prosperous when it comes to tourists cruising into town than it was a year ago; we’ll focus on that.

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