As the worldwide recession hits every type of travel industry like airlines, car rentals and hotel occupancy, cruises in Alaskan waters are also taking a downturn. However with the cruise ship business it makes up a considerable amount of the tourism revenue for the state.
Some cruise companies in the area have had to reduce prices heavily to fill the rows of empty cabins and others are planning on moving out in 2010 for waters that can make more money.
Tourism on cruise ships to Alaska make up around 60 per cent of the total number of travellers to the region, which was around one million last year. This year it is expected to be around the same amount, but trips have been heavily discounted for this season.
“The model for cruise lines is you discount the ticket prices until you fill the ships,” said John Binkley, president of the Alaska Cruise Association. Some of the discounting has been as much as 40 per cent, compared to the Caribbean which has dropped fares by 12 to 15 per cent.
There are rumoured to be three big players in the Alaskan cruise market that will all pull one ship out of the area next year. This is expected to knock visitor numbers down by around 142,000. Just ten year ago cruises in Alaska made up ten per cent of the world total, that has now dropped to around five per cent this year and maybe even further next year.