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South-east Alaska tourism

August 19, 2012

After a peak in 2008 south-east Alaska tourism is on a slow path to recovery. The core cruise ship traffic is notching up. Key attractions draw visitors each year.

In 2010, 1.5 million people visited Alaska. This is a decline of 7% from 2009 and 11.8% from 2008, a peak year in Alaska tourism. Of the 1.5 million visitors in 2010: 58% (878,000) came by cruise, 37% (551,600) came by air, and 5% (76,000) came by highway or ferry.

Tourism is the second-largest private sector employer, and accounts for one in eight Alaskan jobs. The most recent available data indicates that the tourism industry generates over 36,000 direct and indirect jobs, 8% of Alaska employment, and $1.1 billion in combined labor income. The industry boasts a 78% resident hire rate.

In south-east Alaska the cruise ship traffic is key. It has still not recovered from its 2008 peak. A few points of interest:


Alaska’s cruise ship dockings are expected to increase in 2012 from 2011 and the total number of visitors is also expected to rise. Rubber tire traffic is lower, due to the recession.