City and Borough of Juneau City Manager Rorie Watt holds up a chart showing the increase in size of cruise ships during a meeting of the Tourism Industry Task Force in the Assembly chambers on Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019. At Monday's meeting members of the City Assembly's Committee of the Whole discussed three of the committee's recommendations-a discussion that was sidelined by COVID-19. (Michael Penn /Juneau Empire File)

City turns to tourism management ahead of short cruise season

Community survey coming, new tourism job being considered

When large-deck cruising returns to Juneau for the 2022 season, a tourism manager — employed by the City and Borough of Juneau — may be in place to help manage the season.

With an abbreviated cruise ship season about to resume, members of the City Assembly’s Committee of the Whole reviewed a trio of items related to visitor management at their meeting Monday night — an effort that was started in 2020 but sidelined due to COVID-19 related issues.

The committee agreed to move forward with the process of seeking a full-time tourism manager — a suggestion that came from the mayor’s Visitor Industry Task Force. Committee members also heard an update on an upcoming resident survey and reviewed a three-year calendar of potential action items related to tourism management.

“Hiring the tourism manager is the largest recommendation of the Visitor Industry Task Force,” said Rorie Watt, CBJ city manager.

Watt told the committee that the team managing issues related to tourism right now is “very dispersed” and that hiring a tourism manager would help centralize functions.

Masks required in city facilities, encouraged in other indoor spaces

“We have a mosaic of management on the waterfront,” Watt said. “It requires a lot of coordination.”

In a memo to the committee members, Watt said that the tourism manager would serve as a central point of contact for tourism-related projects and issues. In addition, the person selected for the job will manage a variety of wide-ranging duties that include facilitating long-term decision-making around tourism-related issues, forming partnerships to recognize areas in need of structural change, collaborating across stakeholders and working with cruise ship companies, industry groups, the CBJ Assembly and community members through a variety of processes.

After Watt’s presentation, Mayor Beth Weldon moved that the city manager draft an ordinance outlining the position and allocating $150,000 in funding for it. The motion passed without objections. The CBJ Assembly will review the ordinance once drafted.

“Hiring this person is not the end, it’s the beginning,” said Maria Gladziszewski, assembly member. “It will be a big job. I want the assembly to be prepared for continued discussions. Just hiring this person is not going to solve all our problems.”

Local election filing period now open

Survey plans

In the next few months, CBJ will conduct a community survey to gauge the public about the impact of tourism. During the budget process, the assembly allocated money for the survey, which is a recommendation of the Visitor Industry Task Force.

CBJ planning manager Alexandra Pierce told the committee that the city is moving forward with plans to conduct the survey online and by phone. The telephone portion of the survey will contact 500 residents and will be statistically valid. The online survey will be open to the entire community.

According to a memo shared with the committee, “the survey will focus questions to gauge public perception on tourism impacts in the community and the proposed NCL dock at the subport.”

Questions will be based on previous surveys on tourism impact conducted in the ‘90s and early 2000s, according to the memo.

Pierce said that the survey results will allow the city to track trends and that results should be available in October.

• Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at or 907-308-4891.

More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of Aug. 14

Here’s what to expect this week.

Supporters of U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski wait for an opportunity to talk to her at her newly Juneau campaign headquarters Thursday evening at Kootznoowoo Plaza. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Murkowski opens up at Juneau HQ debut

Senator chats with supporters about U.S. vs. Belgium voting, moose chili and Project Veritas

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

U.S. Senate candidate Shoshana Gungurstein stars in a campaign sign within view of the Alaska governor’s mansion. Gungurstein, an independent, got exposure this week for being a Hollywood actress under a different last name after questions about her past went unanswered throughout the campaign. She is one of 19 candidates seeking to be among the four selected in next Tuesday’s primary to compete in the November general election. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Senate candidate sheds more light on background

Shoshana Gungurstein responds at length to recent report on past film career.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Drug arrest made in Skagway

Police say a suspicious package was intercepted.

This late-April photo shows a damaged sticker on a door at Thunder Mountain High School reminding people to social distance and wear masks inside the building. Masks will not be required in school buildings this year. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
No mandatory masks or COVID-19 tests for new school year

No mandatory masks or COVID-19 tests for new school year

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Friday Aug. 12, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

From left, Kelsey Dean, watershed scientist with the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition, and Kaagwaan Eesh Manuel Rose-Bell of Keex’ Kwáan watch as crew members set up tools to drag a log into place. Healthy salmon habitat requires woody debris, typically provided by falling branches and trees, which helps create deep salmon pools and varied stream structure. (Courtesy Photos / Mary Catharine Martin)
The SalmonState: Bringing the sockeye home

Klawock Indigenous Stewards and partners are working to a once prolific sockeye salmon run.

(Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Thursday, Aug. 11, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Most Read