Alaska’s cruise line industry could lose $1.5 billion due to coronavirus – Idaho Reporter

Industries, National

Alaska’s cruise line industry could lose $1.5 billion due to coronavirus

According to WSJ and Washington Post the major cruise ship lines are not int the $2T federal stimulus package headed for a vote tomorrow in the U.S. House.

Like all epidemics, the same goes for coronavirus. One day it will fade away. But the impact it leaves on the cruise lines will take a very long time to heal. From the very beggining (Diamond Princess cruise ship),coronavirus has been a PR nightmare for cruise ships. Story with airlines is different as they provide a necessary service while on the other side cruises are a highly discretionary.

Everyone can do without the cruise lines. It is the last thing people will spend money on. Especially if they think they could catch a virus on the ship.

Since Cruise Lines are the last thing that is going to flourish after the coronavirus is gone, this means that many cruise companies will either go bankrupt or they will just need years to recover.


Each year cruise industry sends more than a million visitors to Alaska making Alaska one of the top three cruise destinations in the world. And according to the latest data, “more than half of all visitors coming to Alaska arrive by cruise ship. In 2018, 1,169,000 traveled by cruise ship“, thats 4 times the population of Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage.

There are around 20 major cruise lines visiting Alaska and the biggest are:Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International (which operates both Royal Caribbean Cruises and Celebrity Cruises), Holland America Line,Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Carnival Cruise Lines. Together, these lines represented 91 percent of 2017 cruise passenger traffic.

Cruise Line industry is not just dockage/moorage fees. There are thousands of other businesses that depend on the cruise passengers coming to Alaska to take their tours, dine in their restaurants, stay in their guest rooms, spend money on ferry tickets, air tickets, etc…

Out-of-state visitors to Alaska spent an estimated $2.2 billion in Alaska in 2017. This figure includes in-state spending only, excluding the cost of transportation to and from the state, such as air tickets, cruise or cruise/tour packages, and ferry tickets.

Spending by visitors, cruise lines, crew members, and spending on air/ferry tickets results in total direct visitor industry spending of $2.8 billion in 2017.Three-quarters (77 percent) of direct spending is attributable to visitor (Cruise line visitors included) out-of-pocket spending– Source: McDowell Group, The Role of Visitors in Alaska’s Economy, 2017

The economic impacts to our communities—and to the hundreds of small businesses and their thousands of employees who rely on cruise ship visitors for their economic livelihoods—will be decimating.”-recently noted ATIA(Alaska Travel Industry Association) in the message to Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski

Given the Canadian government ban on cruise ships over 500 people, Voluntary Suspension in U.S. Cruise Operations and Port of Seattle cruise ship season ending “until the resolution of the public health emergency” we can be sure that the loss and impact of these bans will ripple through the Alaska’s tourism industry.


The impact of the crisis will be even bigger if we have in mind that the Alaska economy finally came out of the recession just recently.

Source: McDowell Group, The Role of Visitors in Alaska’s Economy, 2017

For the past 4 years Iisitor industry was the only bright spot in the Alaska’s Economy, but now everything is about to change because virus will determine when the cruise season will re-open.

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