KETCHIKAN - Visitors to Ketchikan spent $162 million last year, according to a study that looked at tourist spending during the summer of 2006.
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The study was commissioned by the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau and completed by the McDowell Group research firm. It looked at spending during May through September.
The study also considered where the money goes in Ketchikan, and the industry's effects on local employment and municipal revenue.
The last study was done in 2004. The recent study found significant changes, said KVB Executive Director Patti Mackey, who presented a summary Friday at a visitor bureau luncheon.
"The total visitor industry spending went from $152.7 million in 2004 up to the $162.2 million that you see in this report," Mackey said.
Most of that spending in both years comes from cruise ships.
The 838,880 cruise-ship passengers who arrived in Ketchikan during 2006 were 9 percent fewer than the 921,000 passengers that arrived here in 2005.
The 2006 number represents the first decline in Ketchikan cruise passenger counts since 1995, and was even less than the 2004 count of 866,882 passengers.
However, the study found that passengers who actually disembarked spent more per person, an average of $159. Overall, they spent $124 million - more than their 2004 counterparts who spent an average of $138 per person and $111.3 million overall.
The more than 22,300 crew members aboard the ships also spent money in Ketchikan, contributing about $5.7 million to the local economy during the summer of 2006, according to the study.
Cruise lines spent about $22.7 million in Ketchikan that summer.
The biggest chunk of that, about $14.4 million, went for transportation costs such as pilotage and towing, according to the study. The lines also paid about $6.3 million to local governments for passenger fees, docking and lightering.
The final count for the 2007 season was 899,638 passengers, Mackey said.
"Right now, as the schedule stands, we will see another increase in 2008 on the cruise side of things," Mackey said.
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