Six Alaskan port communities severely impacted by the ongoing cruise suspension will receive $10 million from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.
The financial support came amid official estimates the cancellation of both the 2020 and 2021 cruise seasons would result in a $3.3 billion impact, including $2.2 billion of lost revenues for local business.
Port and cruise line-related communities have seen more than 22,000 of collective job losses, representing more than $300 million of lost wages.
More than half (60%) of all tourism in Alaska is generated through cruise, which has been halted for more than a year.
The $10 million cash donation will go directly to the coastal communities of Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Hoonah, Seward and Sitka to provide humanitarian relief from the economic hardship they are facing from the ongoing cruise suspension.
The company is also working to recommence cruise operations in the US to help restart the broad sector’s ecosystem, bringing back American jobs and re-contributing billions of dollars to the US economy.
The owner of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises submitted a plan to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) last month to request authorisation to recommence cruising by July 4, including a health and safety programme including mandatory vaccinations of all passengers and crew.
NCLH said it is “engaging in further discussion” with the CDC.
The global cruise company’s president and chief executive Frank del Rio said: “My heart breaks for Alaska and its wonderful people as we face a potential second year of zero cruise operations during the all-important summer tourism season, bringing yet another blow to Alaska’s tourism economy.
“Alaska is one of our guests’ most popular cruise destinations and we are doing everything in our power to safely resume operations in the US which will provide much needed relief to the families, communities and small businesses who rely on cruise tourism for their livelihoods.”
Governor Mike Dunleavy of Alaska added: “Thousands of small businesses and Alaskans relying on the summer tourism season to make their living cannot afford another cancelled cruise season.
“We are ready to partner with the cruise lines, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Biden-Harris administration and the Canadian authorities to bring cruising back to Alaska safely this summer.”