JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The city of Juneau has signed an agreement with the major cruise lines that visit Alaska’s capital city that is based on recommendations from a local tourism task force.
“This was kind of the grab bag of issues that came out of the task force that we wanted to get down on paper early, or first,” the city’s tourism manager, Alexandra Pierce, told KTOO Public Media.
The cruise lines under the agreement commit to such things as keeping large outdoor screens turned off while in port, providing advance notice of ship schedules and supporting the use of up to $10 million in cruise ship passenger taxes for the proposed expansion of the Centennial Hall convention center.
Renee Limoge Reeve, vice president of government and community relations for Cruise Lines International Association Alaska, said there’s no enforcement mechanism. But she said it’s important that cruise lines are “good partners in the communities that we visit ? so that we are welcomed. Because that improves the experience for the visitors that we’re bringing. You want to be welcomed in the community.”
The agreement is a shift from an at-times adversarial relationship that culminated in 2016 with the cruise association suing the city over its collection and use of cruise passenger taxes. A subsequent ruling in that case led the city and the industry to work together on how to spend those fees.
“And then people just got around the table and just started talking more,” Reeve said. “I would far rather have conversations and come to collaborative solutions this way than through anything like a lawsuit or a regulation or a law. I’d rather just have a conversation and make sure that we are following the will of the community.”
Pierce said this may be the first of several agreements of this sort to come.