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Tourist numbers rise steadily

Cruise passengers spent an estimated $186 million in city

Posted: Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The number of tourists grew steadily in Juneau and throughout Alaska in the summer of 2007, and those visitors spent nearly $2 billion, according to the travel industry.

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In Juneau, numbers were up for all categories. Nearly 1 million cruise ship passengers disembarked at the capital, an increase of approximately 4 percent over the summer of 2006. That's almost the same number of cruise ship passengers that visited Alaska as a whole.

About 44,000 visitors arrived in Juneau by ferry, compared to 39,000 in 2006 - an increase of about 13 percent. And about 74,000 came by airplane, an increase of 4 percent over 2006, according to the Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The bureau estimates cruise passengers spent $186 million for tours, attractions, food, shopping and other services in town.

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Alaska:

Total visitors: 1.7 million.

Cruise ships: 1 million.

Air: 600,000.

Vehicle: 100,000.

Annual employment in tourism industry: 38,700.

Spending: $1.8 billion.

Juneau:

Cruise ships: 999,052.

Ferries: 44,317.

Air: 74,428.

Spending: $186 million.

Source: Alaska Travel Industry Association, Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau

Blue Bergmann, owner of the Alaskan Fudge Co. on Franklin Street, said business was good this summer.

"This is a tourist business. (Although we stay open in the winter), we make our money in the summer," Bergmann said. The candy store has been in Juneau 27 years.

But Cori Tocco, manager at The Jewel Box, which has been in Juneau 51 years, said the store did not have as good a summer as 2006, and she suspects the cruises are bringing in less affluent travelers than they used to.

"The passenger count is up but the money isn't," Tocco said. "It's a totally different demographic than it used to be. Some people just save everything they can to get here. And they pay for a lot of stuff on board now when they didn't used to have to."

A total of 1.7 million tourists came to Alaska this summer, up from 1.6 million in 2006. Those visitors spent an estimated $1.8 billion, according to the Alaska Travel Industry Association.

The majority came on cruise ships, but tourists coming by car and plane are also growing. About 1 million came by cruise, 600,000 came by air travel and 100,000 came by car.

"Slow but steady growth among cruise and independent travelers is positive news for Juneau's economic future," said Lorene Palmer, president of the Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Cruise ship passengers have quadrupled since 1990, when 235,000 visited by cruise ships. In contrast, independent travelers have grown only 48 percent since 1990, when there were 455,000, compared to 673,000 in 2006.



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