Cruise Lines Reel Back Funding for Alaska Travel Association

The Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA) is lobbying the state legislature for at least $2 million in marketing assistance after cruise lines that serve Alaska cut off voluntary contributions in light of a cruise ship head tax initiative, which was passed in 2006. The $50 per-passenger tax is estimated to have cost the cruise lines $46 million in 2007.

The head tax was part of a cruise ship initiative that also requires "ocean rangers" to be watchdogs on cruise ships and help prevent illegal dumping of waste and toxins into Alaska waters.

ATIA now says the state should step in and help. "The real rationale for us requesting a change in the funding model is because we know we will not be able to reach that 50/50 match [public versus private funding]," said Ron Peck, ATIA's president. "When this program started, there were no taxes on the cruise industry."

Alaska's Senate Finance Committee will rule on the matter this month. (DE)

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