Every summer, travelers from all around the world flock to Alaska to experience the majesty of an Alaskan cruise and extended land tour.
In fact, many local Alaskan businesses make nearly all of their money for the entire year from May to September.
But this year, no other state in America has been hit harder than Alaska and many residents aren’t sure if they’ll ever be able to bounce back.
While the tourism industry is down all across America, most places will be able to at least recuperate some lost revenue during the fall and winter months.
But not Alaska.
A False Start
Alaska was gearing up to have a record-breaking number of tourists visit this summer.
In fact, one of the state’s largest tour companies, Premier Alaska Tours, even loaded up with record number staff to prepare for the mad rush.
Except it never came.
And when summer was literally “canceled,” Premier Alaska Tours was forced to lay off hundreds of employees, leaving only 15 on the payroll.
And things are so bad that Josh Howes, the president of Premier Alaska Tours, admitted they could actually go more than a year with zero revenue.
The Points Guy reported:
“Thanks to the state’s short tourist season, which doesn’t really get going until mid-May and is mostly over by early September, many tourism-related companies in Alaska are bracing for revenue declines for the year approaching 80%, 90% or even 100%.
Or, as Howes put it, “We could potentially go from September 2019 to May 2021 with zero revenue.”
With staggering figures like this, it will take businesses a long time to recover – and that’s if they can make it through.
No More Cruises
It’s estimated more than 1.2 million people visit Alaska on a cruise ship each year.
But with no cruises headed to Alaska, businesses that depend on income during the busy summer months have been forced to shut their doors.
The Points Guy continued:
“It’s a major deal,” says Kara Tetley, a tourism official in Juneau, which gets 94% of its visitors from cruise ships that won’t be coming this year. “We rely heavily on tourism.”
Can you imagine trying to keep your business afloat while losing 94 percent of your customers?
It’s clearly not sustainable.
The Summer From Hell
Many Alaskans are realizing just how dependent they’ve become on summer tourism to survive and live a normal life.
With Alaska Airlines canceling more than half of their flights to Alaska, locals are finding it difficult to find available flights to travel out of state.
If they want to leave Alaska, flight options are limited.
And without the tourists spending money, many stores stay boarded up as they simply don’t have the funds to open their doors.
Some businesses have gotten creative and started thinking outside the box on new ways to make revenue like sending Alaskan food to those outside the state for an “Alaskan Experience”.
But still, to those who live in Alaska year-round, they are bound to feel the effects of the desolate summer in a major way.
You Can Still Visit
While you can’t take a cruise, tourism is still somewhat open in Alaska.
Of course, you won’t have the wide variety of activities you’d normally get to choose from – but who knows – you might enjoy a less crowded vacation spot.
But remember, in order to travel to Alaska – just like Hawaii – you must prove you don’t have COVID-19.
Sadly, mandates like this are likely to cause many Americans to sit this summer of tourism out.
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