John McConnochie, of Cycle Alaska, left, speaks about the cruise industry in Juneau during a panel discussion with Drew Green, Port Manager at Cruise Line Agencies, center, and Mike Tibbles, of Cruise Lines International Association, at the Juneau Chamber of Commerce’s weekly luncheon at the Moose Lodge on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

John McConnochie, of Cycle Alaska, left, speaks about the cruise industry in Juneau during a panel discussion with Drew Green, Port Manager at Cruise Line Agencies, center, and Mike Tibbles, of Cruise Lines International Association, at the Juneau Chamber of Commerce’s weekly luncheon at the Moose Lodge on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Empire Live: Cruise Ship Capacity

‘We’ve had three years where we managed a million passengers’

Summary: Panel members seemed to believe that growth was managable and that limiting cruise ship passengers could threaten economic opportunity not just for Juneau but other communities as well. Read more here: Tourism industry panel talks up Juneau’s cruise ship infrastructure

12:59 p.m.

Question and Answers:

If the subport lot is built with a full size lot, what would capacity look like? Could we get to two million passengers?

I’d have to guess, Tibbles says, the question is would you have another anchorage? There’s a lot of factors that could affect that.

That’s the $20 million question, Palmer says. It depends on what Norwegian does with the dock, whether they share with other companies.

What are some threats that could drive down the number of people coming to town and as a result our city budget (because of money from sales tax.)

There are regulatory changes that could potentially happen, Tibbles says. The city of Juneau has built a strong partnership with the industry and the state has committed to infrastructure. Overall things are good, but there’s always threats, if you had some regulatory or extreme tax that could affect things.

12:50 p.m.

Juneau is in the top 10 destinations globally in terms of customer satisfaction, according to Porthole magazine, a cruise industry publication, according to Tibbles.

We do want to be mindful of how we can continue to be an attractive destination.

You hear people say cruise ships are going to keep coming and coming but there is a limit to our capacity, Palmer says.

As cruise lines are trying to decide what ports they want to visit, Tibbles says, so we need to market Juneau as a destination, and putting limits on Juneau might affect opportunities in other communities.

12:47 p.m.

Juneau gets busy on Mondays and Tuesdays because passengers want to start their vacations in Seattle or Vancouver on Saturdays. There’s not really a market for ships leaving from Seattle during the week, according to Tibbles. Seattle is looking to add another berth, Tibbles says, but currently there’s no room for them in Juneau.

We care about residents too, Palmer says, and we need to think about minimizing effects on the community.

The industry is once again becoming part of the conversation in the community and it’s important that chamber members are well informed about what they can do to address people’s concerns, Palmer says.

12:40 p.m

Alaska has a very high rate of people coming off the ships at ports of call, Tibbles says.

Juneau typically sees 10-11,000 cruise ship passengers a day during the week, Tibbles says.

Tibbles is showing a slide titled: The average to mid-size cruise ship is gone.

What’s on order is large ships or smaller ships, Tibbles says. We hear that ships are getting bigger and bigger but there is a growth of smaller “adventure cruise” ships.

We had three years where we managed a million passengers, Tibbles says.

As Juneau’s capacity grew, so did stops at smaller ports, leading to a lot of economic opportunity in those communities, according to Tibbles.

Juneau’s passenger to resident ratio for 2020 is predicted to be .3 passengers to residents, according to Tibbles.

12:30 p.m.

There is a physical threshold of capacity in Juneau, Green says. We are at dock capacity based on traffic we have now.

Our growth was based in part of “four big ships (1,000 foot) replacing the medium ships (900 foot),” Green says.

CLAA is predicting a “plateauing” of passenger increases in Juneau in the next two years, according to Green.

Another way to get more capacity is “hot berthing,” which is when one ship leaves and another takes its space immediately. This works well amongst one cruise line company, Green says. Tuesday is the biggest day for hot berthing according to Green, and that day typically sees the most visitors to Juneau.

A map of Juneau’s cruise ship docks handed out to attendees at the Juneau Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Moose Family Lodge on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire)

A map of Juneau’s cruise ship docks handed out to attendees at the Juneau Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Moose Family Lodge on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019. (Peter Segall | Juneau Empire)

12:20 p.m.

McConnochie is giving an overview of today’s program. The conversation will focus on the economic impacts and other effects of the industry in Juneau.

Most businesses in Juneau are either directly or indirectly affected by the cruise industry, he says.

One of the processes CLAA provides, Green says, is helping to coordinated ship scheduling which can be a very complicated thing.

CLAA asks for itineraries two years in advance, and compiles that information and cross references with infrastructure, Green says. The next stop is “deconflicting” cruise ship schedules.

“With the new city owned cruise ship berths we’re able to accommodate most ships that want to come here,” Green says.

Two of Juneau’s docks are designed to accommodate 1,000 foot ships, which can carry up to 4,000 passengers. Two others are designed to handle slightly smaller ships that carry up to 3,000 people, according to Green.

12:10 p.m.

The chamber has recently formed a Visitor Industry Subcommittee, Palmer says. Tourism and cruise ship capacity has been studied for 25 years according to Palmer.

Palmer is showing a number of quotes giving negative perspectives on the growth of the cruise ship industry in Juneau. Many of these quotes need more context, Palmer says.

Noon

This week at the Juneau Chamber of Commerce Luncheon at the Moose Family Lodge: Cruise Ship Capacity: Facts and Factors. A panel of local representatives of the tourism industry is speaking to the chamber.

Lorene Palmer of Palmer and Associates is acting as facilitator for the panel. Drew Green, from the Cruise Line Agencies of Alaska (CLAA), John McConnochie of Cycle Alaska and Mike Tibbles from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).


• Contact reporter Peter Segall at 523-2228 or psegall@juneauempire.com.


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