Is anyone else as concerned as I am about the projected 1.6 million cruise ship passengers this spring and summer?
I live in an impacted neighborhood and am increasingly concerned about this possibility.
In 2019, a Visitors Task Force was created and this committee came up with recommendations for the Assembly, Mayor and City Manager. Then the pandemic happened and those results were lost/ forgotten for a while.
In the spring of 2021, a group called Juneau Cruise Control, set out to petition the assembly about the cruise ship industry’s impact on Juneau. The petition effort’s didn’t materialize. However, and maybe as a result of the petition drive, an intense debate ensued. It was then that the Visitor Task Force’s recommendation of a central office for tourism management, was implemented, a full-time, benefited position to deal with all things tourism.
From that office a survey on the impact of cruise ships on residents, came out late last summer. In that survey about impacts, respondents by 56% said they could tolerate five ships on any day.
Another question on the survey was what size ship was tolerable. The survey developers failed to define size adequately.
The definition of size went from anything under 500 passengers as a small ship , to anything over 500 as a large ship. Older cruise ships hold about 1,500-2,000 passengers.
Sadly, the cruise industry is moving to mega ships holding up to 5,000 passengers.
So, quite possibly there will be five ships with the passenger capacity of 5,000 each in the harbor on any day during the season which has been increased to nearly six months long.
Equally sad are the shore excursions to satisfy those passenger numbers. I have been in the tourist zone on those Tuesdays when there have been upwards of 20,000 people during the day. It isn’t pretty, safe or healthy.
Isn’t a million enough?
If you are concerned about these growing numbers and/or the fifth dock project,contact the tourism manager Alexandra Pierce at Alexandra.Pierce@juneau.org or your assembly members and the mayor at firstname.lastname@example.org
• Pat White resides in Juneau.