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Governor Parnell Fights for Alaska Tourism Businesses

March 19, 2010, Anchorage, Alaska – Recognizing the significant impact the decline in cruise ship travel has had on Alaska, Governor Sean Parnell continues to advocate for increased tourism opportunities and economic growth for Alaska. The governor is aggressively seeking to bring more tourist dollars to Alaska with a comprehensive strategy to reduce taxes, increase tourism marketing and increase regulatory flexibility. In exchange, the state will require more cruise ship deployments to Alaska.

Governor Sean Parnell also announced his support for a reduction in the tourism head tax from $46 per head to $34.50. The governor is encouraging a reduction with certain offsets for local head taxes – to eliminate the possibility of taxing tourists twice for the same Alaska destination. Additionally, the governor reiterated his support for corporate income tax credits to incentivize greater Alaska tourism marketing.

“We must make Alaska a more affordable destination to travelers from Outside,” Governor Parnell said. “I made it clear to cruise ship executives that we would need public assurances about increased deployments and economic activity in Alaska in exchange for these tax reductions.”

Governor Parnell is urging legislators to combine tourism marketing tax credit legislation with the proposal to reduce Alaska’s head tax.

After decades of steady growth in the sector, Alaska is facing a 17 percent decline in cruise visitation this summer. That will translate to 140,000 fewer passengers coming here during the four-month cruise season. 

Audio from Governor Parnell on the head tax is available at: http://gov.alaska.gov/parnell_media/audio/031910GovCruiseIncentives.mp3

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