Poll backs managing tourism

But majority wants no reduction in number of cruise ships in Juneau

Posted: Monday, November 19, 2001

Seventy-eight percent of the people responding to Juneau's latest tourism Web poll think it is appropriate for the city to manage the benefits and impacts of tourism.

Fifty-eight percent think it is appropriate for the city to manage the number of visitors who come to Juneau.

But 52 percent think Juneau should not give serious consideration to reducing the number of cruise ships that stop here. Forty percent think Juneau should seriously consider reducing cruise ship stops.

A total of 977 people, including 61 students, responded to the city's third Internet poll. A total of 1,511 people responded to the first poll; 1,089 responded to the second. Numbers cited in this article include student and adult responses.

The city is sponsoring five Web polls as part of a long-range tourism management plan. The Juneau Assembly's Planning and Policy Committee, which handles tourism issues, was scheduled to discuss the Web polls at a meeting today. Chairman Dale Anderson said he is encouraged by the polling, but would like to see more people participate.

"I'm pleased with the process as a piece of the puzzle. It is not the whole answer, but it's certainly a very strong piece to the puzzle," he said.

More people are participating in the polls than might come to a Planning and Policy Committee meeting or public hearing about tourism, Anderson said.

Assembly member Jim Powell, committee vice chairman, said he is impressed with the outcome and that people are taking time to answer the poll questions.

"I think it's essential that we get feedback from the community and the polls themselves are a very good strategy in getting feedback," he said. "It's important we don't rely solely on them and we won't. But it's an important tool in getting feedback and we will take a look at that."

As with the second poll, the third poll included several trade-off questions that asked respondents to prioritize tourism goals. Questions also covered waterfront planning, tourism-related training and how the city should manage small cruise ships.

In response to a question that asked people how patient they are when it comes to changes in noise and congestion, 44 percent said they can be patient if they are confident real solutions are underway. Twenty-three percent said they need to see major improvements right away, 18 percent said they feel no sense of rush and 15 percent said they aren't concerned about noise and pollution.

The fourth and fifth polls are scheduled for January and a public meeting on the long-range tourism plan is set for Dec. 5. Complete results and more information about tourism planning are available at www.cbjtourism.com and www.juneauempire.com/tourism.

Joanna Markell can be reached at joannam@juneauempire.com.

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