The newly formed Alaska Alliance for Cruise Travel has raised $25,000 among its members for a booth at the cruise industry's largest trade show in Miami next month.
The group, made up of tourism businesses, has gained quick membership in its quest to support cruising in Alaska, said steering committee member Holly Johnson.
One of Alaska ACT's main objectives is to encourage state lawmakers to rethink the 2006 cruise ship ballot initiative that imposed a $50 head tax on cruise passengers, among other new taxes and rules.
The group recently met with Gov. Sean Parnell to ask him to initiative a review of the voter-approved measure but came away with no commitment, Johnson said.
They hope for another meeting but in the meantime, the cruise industry trade show meets a broader goal, Johnson said.
Johnson is president of a Juneau-based tour operator.
"We're being by passed by small communities and countries from around the world that are also having tough economic times, so they are going out to get business," Johnson said of the reason to represent Alaska at the trade show. "There's other people that want our business. Everyone's there."
She said the state has not been represented at the trade show for many years.
Members will pay their own way to Miami, while Southeast municipalities, such as the city of Ketchikan, private individuals and tour operators donated funds to pay for the booth space.
The event, called Seatrade Cruise Shipping Miami, is billed as the place for industry professionals to meet to source new products and services. It take place March 15-18. More than half of the information presented is by cruise destinations, according to the host.
Alaska ACT formed last fall, after of a round of economic summits held in Juneau and other parts of the state focused on the impacts of announced reductions in port visits by cruise lines.
Johnson described members as "mom and pop" businesses dependent on tourism.
Alaska ACT has 600 members, which the organization counts by the number of individuals who fill out a membership form on its Web site.
Contact reporter Kim Marquis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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