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Returning cruise ship boosts Anchorage’s tourism industry

By MJ Thim Photojournalist: Andy Nitchman - 7:42 AM May 26, 2014

After a year-long absence, a Holland America cruise ship docked down at the Port of Anchorage Sunday morning and ushered in the next chapter of this year’s tourism season.

It’s a big ship that brought in not just people but excitement for a big boom in Anchorage’s economy.

One of the driving forces of Anchorage’s tourism success — both literally and figuratively — is the Anchorage Trolley.

“They’ve read about it. They’ve seen it on TV and now they are here and they are just enjoying,” said Avery Aldeman with the Anchorage Trolley.

Holland America brought over 1,000 passengers to Downtown Anchorage. Most of the passengers want to know about where to eat, where to shop and where to experience Anchorage, Adleman said.

Cruise ships don’t dock that often in Anchorage. The majority of the destinations are in Seward and Whittier, he said.

“Everybody here in Anchorage is affected by it because it’s a great thing for the economy,” he said.

Visit Anchorage made one request of residents for this year’s tourist season.

“Welcome and say thank you to the visitors when you see them here on the streets because they are an important part of our economy,” Julie Saupe with Visit Anchorage said at a press conference last week.

Cruise ship passengers means more people to spend more money throughout Anchorage and Alaska.

The Anchorage Trolley gives out coupons to passengers to help them spend. Aldeman said it’s a way to say thank you to the passengers for coming to Anchorage.

“People come up. They are all happy. They want to be here,” he said. “It’s our gift to show them Anchorage, the greatest city in the state and the world.”

Passengers don’t have much time to see and spend. The ship stays docked until the tide changes, which gives passengers 12 hours to explore Anchorage.

Holland America returns in June and August.

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