Presidents and CEOs of major cruise lines teamed up to scold Alaska on Tuesday in a panel at the Cruise Shipping conference in Miami. With Gov. Sean Parnell sitting in the front row, reports Travel Agent Central, the executives decried the state’s regulatory and taxation policies.
Stein Kruse, president and CEO, Holland America Line, outlined – in a frank manner – the regulatory and economic equation the industry needs to keep ships in any particular destination.
“Alaska needs to realize that people and ships will not go to Alaska because Alaska ‘is there,’ ” said Kruse, who stressed the industry’s flexibility and the ability to move its ships. “They [have to] fix the problem that they have created for the cruise industry. I know those are strong words, but that’s the reality.”
Kruse said Alaska is holding the industry to the world’s most burdensome regulations.
“We cannot even take on water at some ports in Alaska because when we take that water on it has a higher copper content than what Alaska allows us to discharge in Alaska,” Kruse said. “That’s how crazy it’s gotten.” Some regulations are so overzealous, he said, that technology does not yet even exist to support the proposed regulations.
After the panel, the cruise executives met in private with Parnell. In an interview afterward with The Miami Herald, he stressed Alaska’s support of the cruise industry but avoided specifics on how to make the industry happier.
”I heard clearly the need for some change to the head tax and the need to have environmental regulation based on good science.” The governor added: ”I’m going to try to work to reduce costs for the [cruise] industry” in a bid to spur the state’s economy.