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U.S. House of Representatives passes bill allowing direct cruises from Washington to Alaska

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 4:51 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Alaska has passed another hurdle on the way to getting cruise passengers to the state.

On Thursday, May 20th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow large cruise ships to bypass Canada on the way to the 49th state.

A corresponding bill already passed in the Senate on May 13th.

As Deb Hickok, President and CEO of Explore Fairbanks explained, the outlook for a summer tourist season in Fairbanks is optimistic.

However, a few more obstacles remain. These include the CDC’s conditional sailing order, and a shortage of workers in the industry.

“Approximately 41%, that is a typical number of our guests in the summer, are on a cruise land tour here in Fairbanks, so the majority are really independent travelers whether they’re traveling in independent family units, or friends, or in independent group travel. That’s the majority of our business, but certainly that 40%-plus cruise sector is really important also,” Hickok said.

While Hickok says the summer tourist season isn’t looking as good as 2019, it should be an improvement over 2020.

Employment opportunities in the interior’s tourism industry can be found here.

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