Cruise ship industry used the wrong tactic

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, August 31, 2006

I find the misleading information in print and television ads from the cruise ships to be interesting to say the least.

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Very few, if any, tourists are going to stop coming to Alaska if they have to pay $50 in head taxes. In the mid- to late-1990s, when the cruise industry was collecting "port fees" in far greater sums than $50, it didn't seem to hurt the industry. At least not until the cruise industry lost the class action suit filed for collecting these "fees."

Taxes for tourists leaving Florida to go to the islands off the East Coast are $90, and the taxes charged to go through the Panama Canal are $200, and those charges do not seem to have slowed things down much in those two areas.

It may be that the big interest of the cruise industry is not the head tax as much as it is the other things that go with it. Paying taxes on gambling. Having to disclose in brochures or other sales materials that vessels receive fees by promoting merchants in various towns along the way. The fact that there is a law in place already that precludes that but has not been enforced seems to be missing from the flyers that arrived every day urging us to vote "No" on Ballot Measure 2.

The people involved with this sort of thing for the cruise lines made a mistake. This past legislative session, they should have been up on the hill promoting a $50 head tax, then none of the other items would have been reached, nor would there have been a Ballot Measure 2. Their lobbyist sure "missed the boat" on this one.

Mignon Diane Lauber


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