Tourism industry has bred resentment

Posted: Sunday, August 20, 2006

I would love to answer Mark Kaelke's question as to why the tourism industry is under fiscal attack by the ballot measures ... and hopefully the voters. Juneau is my home. I was born and raised right here and love my home. Years ago a tour ship sailing into Juneau was a novelty and an event we all looked forward to. I think we enjoyed gawking at the silly tourists in their overcoats during the summer as much as they enjoyed gawking at us.

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In recent years, however, the influx of the tourism industry has begun to intrude upon the lives of those of us who stick around to tough out the winters, looking forward to the summers. We are no longer able to enjoy those summers thanks to the M.A.S.H. atmosphere caused by the flocks of helicopters flying overhead, the convoys of tour buses cruising our no-longer exempt neighborhoods, and the fleets of ships in the harbor dumping near the entire population of Juneau of tourists on us. They crowd the streets and make downtown unavailable to those of us who want to maintain our sanity. The tourism industry has become the big bad wolf ... predatory in its invasive manner toward us, building much resentment toward the industry as a whole. I, for one, think more than three ships in a single day is outlandish, just as I think more than two helicopters at a time is also outlandish. The noise and the crowds spoil our summers and there are many of us who live for those summers because we don't really enjoy the winters. So ... when the tourism industry starts treating us with a little more respect and stops encroaching upon our privacy and peace, then maybe we'll be more inclined to cut the tourism industry a little slack.

Rayda L. Renshaw


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