Assembly, Holland America brighten Juneau's outlook

Posted: Tuesday, June 05, 2001

A couple of items of positive note passed our way last week that should register with Juneau's business community. Last week's decision by the Assembly Finance Committee to give a $45,000 boost to the Juneau Economic Development Council's request for funding is a very positive sign that the city is focused on making Juneau a good place to do business.

Although the JEDC fell short of its request for $183,000, the added resources will go a long way toward meeting the council's objectives to leverage additional support for its programs and fund its activities. The JEDC plays a vital role in promoting Juneau as a good place to do business.

The JEDC also diligently tracks business indicators and forecasts the business climate for the region. This information is vital in keeping a finger on the city's economic pulse. An important tool used by most communities for economic development and promotional purposes is an informational brochure. Juneau is in serious need of an updated promotional brochure. Although small, such brochures are an effective way to reach out to those seeking information about our community.

The recent announcement by Holland America Lines that it plans to extend the hours that three of its ships spend in Juneau's port will boost to Juneau's business community. Port time is very important to Juneau retailers. The specific hours that visitors spend in town also affect retail activity. Cruise ship crew members also enjoy spending time taking in the local sights and have a big impact on retail spending.

Holland's ships will extend their Juneau departure time from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Local merchants recognize that these evening hours are especially good for business. When the number of passengers and crew are multiplied by the two extra hours port side, the impact is significant.

Downtown merchants will benefit greatly from Holland's decision, and the increased sales tax will benefit the community in other ways.

We can speculate that Holland America Lines is responding to the positive moves made by the Assembly and the community demonstrating that Juneau is working hard to become more business friendly. The current Juneau Assembly is to be commended for its efforts to improve the community's economic climate.

Princess Cruise Lines is also considering modification to its schedules that should benefit the business community.

Don Smith


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