Alaska Cruise Industry to Hit 1 Million Passengers in 2016
Photo courtesy of Trafalgar Tours
For the first time in six years, cruise industry officials are reporting that Alaska will welcome at least one million passengers to the state in 2016.
According to Alaska Public Media, Cruise Lines International Association Alaska president John Binkley announced that the number of cruise passengers sailing to Alaska will climb by two percent this year.
Overall, the cruise industry has seen an annual growth of around eight percent, so Alaska’s cruise growth is slower than the industry norm, but still an improvement over 2015. Binkley also said that four percent of the cruise industry travels to and from Alaska.
The fastest-growing market for the cruise industry is in Asia, thanks in part to the surge in business from China. Officials from Cruise Lines International Association Alaska believe the success in Asia could result in more passengers visiting Alaska.
“Once that capacity and that growth is seen in Asia, then the hope is that in later years it will be a source for cruise passengers coming to Alaska,” Binkley said in a statement. “So, initially competition. Later, a market that will increase more dramatically visitors to Alaska.”
“With the Panama Canal expanding in size, larger vessels can now move from the Atlantic, for example the Caribbean trade in the wintertime, through the Panama Canal into the Pacific and up to Alaska for the summer trade,” Binkley said.
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