Tourism stats - Alaska vs. Yukon
June 04, 2012
The State of Alaska and Government of Yukon each publish large documents on the tourism sectors.
A few points of interest:
- An estimated 1.56 million out-of-state visitors came to Alaska between May and September, 2011. Of this number, 883,000 were cruise ship passengers, 604,500 were air visitors (entered and exited the state by air), and 69,300 were highway/ferry visitors (entered or exited the state by highway or ferry).
- Recent tourism activity in Yukon has been steady, with annual international border crossings totaling about 310,000 in the past two years. Annual international border crossings of 309,863 were recorded in 2011, down slightly from 311,542 in 2010. At the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport, the total number of passengers arriving and departing increased by 7.7%, or 19,140 for a total of 267,442. (The Yukon’s statistics are not directly comparable since no attempt is made to determine the ‘visitors’ from the total ‘border crossings’ of ‘air departures’.).
- The largest segment of Alaska’s visitor streams come from cruise ships—more than air and highway combined.
- The number of visitors was to Alaska in 2011 up 2% for 2010, but still below the 2007 peak of 1.71 million visitors. Yukon numbers were flat in 2011.
- The Alaska visitor 2011 air volume of 604,500 surpassed the previous peak of 602,200, set in 2007. At the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport, the total number of passengers arriving and departing increased by 7.7%, or 19,140 for a total of 267,442.
- Alaska’s cruise traffic has not shown the strong recovery of the air market; the 2011 total of 883,000, while 1 percent more than in 2010, is still 15 percent below the 2008 peak of 1,033,100.
- The highway/ferry market has generally trended downwards over the last six years, showing an overall decline of 18 percent between 2006 and 2011. As discussed throughout this report, the composition of the highway/ferry market has likewise changed since 2006. Survey results show a shorter average length of stay,a higher proportion of Canadians.
- The growth in motorcoach traffic to Yukon over the past ten years is due primarily to an increase of cruise ship day tour activity out of Skagway, Alaska.
Passenger vehicle visits are declining while motorcoach traffic has been rising.
For Alaska the cruise ship traffic has yet to recover from the recession of 2007-2008, but air traffic has recovered and is growing. On a net basis about 150,000 visitors per year are ‘missing’ from the cruise ships.
For Yukon border crossings are down about 25,000 from the recession of 2007-2008. Air traffic has seen continued growth. With WestJet flying into Whitehorse beginning in 2012, the visitor numbers should be further bolstered.
Alaska’s tourism sector has been hit harder by the recession.