For the first time in forever (okay, seven years), Alaska welcomed their one millionth cruise ship visitor last week.
Wendy Yoisten from Alberta, Canada and her husband John arrived aboard Holland America’s Zaandam to Juneau. Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott, Juneau Mayor Ken Koelsch, CLIA Alaska President John Binkley, and a number of local officials and residents surprised Yoisten as she disembarked for the day.
Native dancers greeted the couple, and Yoisten received a plaque, medallion, and basket of gifts from local Alaska businesses. Governor Walker issued a proclamation for the occasion, declaring September 22, 2016 as Alaska Cruise Ship Visitor Day.
The industry is expecting to bring even more cruise visitors to Alaska next year, as the state continues to increase capacity for the large vessels. Holland America will be operating seven ships there next year, and Seabourn recently announced they’ll be returning to Alaska next year for the first time in 15 years. “Demand has improved,” said Binkley, “We have been able to build back our industry and all indications are that we will continue to grow. With our economic situation, the challenge now is to keep Alaska competitive with the rest of the world.”