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Governor Parnell Meets with Senior Executives to Address Cruise Industry Decline

March 16, 2010, Juneau, Alaska - Governor Parnell met today with senior cruise executives on the opening day of Cruise Shipping Miami, an annual international trade show and conference sponsored by Seatrade.

The governor attended the conference opening and participated in several small group meetings with executives whose ships operate in Alaska and throughout the world. Prior to meeting with cruise officials, the governor had breakfast with more than 30 Alaskans also attending the Miami conference. Many small business owners said they feared losing their businesses because of the declining visitation. They also expressed concern about having to make dramatic cuts in employment and the resulting effects on Alaskan families and communities.

"We recognize that the Alaska cruise industry needs to be more competitive," Governor Parnell said. "The state and the industry also have to drive demand to Alaska through increased marketing."

Since taking office last summer, Governor Parnell has met with dozens of Alaskan business owners whose livelihood is dependent on the cruise industry. Alaskans have urged him to meet personally with cruise lines and find a way to reverse the declining visitation. Alaska will lose more than 140,000 cruise passengers in 2010. In contrast, Europe and other destinations are experiencing double-digit growth.

"The governor's attendance made huge strides in restoring Alaska's relationship with the cruise industry," said Bob Berto, President of the Alaska Alliance for Cruise Travel (Alaska ACT). "We are very pleased with the governor's commitment to build a strong visitor industry in Alaska, bringing in critical dollars to help support Alaska businesses and thousands of jobs across our state." Alaska ACT represents nearly 800 businesses and individuals in Alaska that work in the visitor industry.

Cruise Shipping Miami brings together cruise line executives, industry suppliers and buyers, and representatives of destinations from around the world. With more than 10,000 people expected at the event, it is an opportunity for Alaska to showcase and promote itself as a unique cruise destination.

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