Comment Letter: Support for the Alaska Tourism Recovery Act

February 26, 2021

The Honorable Don Young
United States House of Representatives 
2314 Rayburn House Office Bldg. 

Washington, DC 20515

Re: Alaska Tourism Recovery Act 

Dear Congressman Young:

The Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc. (RDC) is writing in support of the recently introduced Alaska Tourism Recovery Act (H.R. 1318). 

RDC is an Alaska trade association comprised of individuals and companies from Alaska’s fishing, forestry, mining, oil and gas, and tourism industries. RDC’s membership includes Alaska Native corporations, local communities, organized labor, and industry support firms. RDC’s purpose is to encourage a strong, diversified private sector in Alaska and expand the state’s economic base through the responsible development of our natural resources.

RDC applauds you for introducing the Alaska Tourism Recovery Act. It would provide a much-needed temporary Passenger Vessel Services Act workaround by deeming roundtrip voyages between Alaska and Washington State as foreign voyages for the purposes of U.S. law. The provisions have been narrowly tailored to provide targeted relief for large cruise vessel trips to and from Washington State and Alaska which are the lifeblood of Alaska’s summer tourism economy. Importantly, the provisions are temporary and would only apply during the closure of Canadian waters and ports.

Providing a temporary legislative solution to allow for the resumption of cruising between Alaska and Washington state under U.S. cabotage laws is an important effort in the push to save a portion of the Alaskan summer cruise season. Given that the CDC’s Conditional Sail Order remains in place, we thank you for calling on the Biden Administration to work constructively with the industry to find a path forward toward the safe resumption of cruising.

We appreciate your continued efforts to champion Alaska’s tourism industry. Our visitor industry supports Alaskans through direct employment and also thousands of indirect jobs such as suppliers and truck drivers. The economic effects ripple even further. Tourism employs Alaskans as teachers, public safety officers, and other public employees through unrestricted tax revenue to state and local governments. Directly and indirectly, tourism is a major driver in Alaska’s economy, and in fact, throughout the Pacific Northwest.

As always, thank you for your leadership and ongoing efforts on behalf of Alaska’s visitor industry, for Alaska’s business community, and all Alaskans.

Resource Development Council for Alaska, Inc.