The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) is applauding a proposal by Alaska Governor Sean Parnell to reduce the state "head tax" on inbound cruise passengers from $46 to $34.50. In a letter to the Governor, Chris Russo, ASTA's president and chair, pointed out that travel agents are responsible for more than $14 billion in annual cruise sales— approximately 80 percent of all cruise travel sold.
Russo’s letter reiterated ASTA's support for reducing regulatory and tax barriers that make travel more expensive. "The predictable effect of a tax reduction such as the one you have proposed will be an increase in the number of cruise passengers visiting your state-a welcome result for passengers, travel agents and Alaska-based businesses alike," Russo wrote. "At a time when many states and municipalities are seeking to apply additional taxes on the travel and tourism industry, this proposal is a welcome step in the right direction. We look forward to working with Governor Parnell and the Alaska State Legislature to help this measure to become law."