Two cruise ships in Gastineau Channel

Visitor Industry Task Force (2019-2020)

Introduction

Mayor Weldon established the Visitor Industry Task Force (VITF) on October 14, 2019 with a charging document that tasked the group with addressing four major issues:

  • Tourism industry management
  • Revisiting the 2004 Long Range Waterfront Plan
  • The concept of a “cap” on the number of visitors
  • The necessity of additional public process in the form of surveys

The group held a number of public meetings between October of 2019 and February of 2020 to advise the CBJ Assembly and advance community thinking on a range of visitor industry topics.

The VITF took public testimony on January 11, 2020 and February 1, 2020 and received 43 spoken comments and 156 written comments. The testimony reflected a diverse range of viewpoints in the community and generally provided nuanced views of the benefits and impacts of tourism.

The VITF developed 45 recommendations to be completed over the next three years in response to the mayor’s charging document and established a set of conditions for construction of a cruise ship dock at the Subport property. Recommendations can be found in the dropdown boxes on this page, broken out by the year they are planned to be completed. Ongoing recommendations are operational or longer-term and will be completed over many years.

The relationship between CBJ and the visitor industry has evolved over the past two decades. Through investments in infrastructure, management tools, and in programs like Tourism Best Management Practices (TBMP), Juneau has managed tourism growth. While CBJ and the visitor industry should be proud of the success of their efforts, we have reached a point where we need to work together to develop proactive tools and strategies for tourism management over the coming years.

The VITF recognizes the work done by the community and CBJ in early 2000’s that resulted in the Tourism Management Plan and the subsequent Resolution 2170.  Many of the findings and recommendations in the report are still applicable today and should be considered along with this report.  The vision established in the Resolution continues to guide the efforts of this committee and should guide future policy decisions:

CBJ seeks a healthy and vibrant tourism sector generating business opportunities and employment for Juneau citizens, protecting Juneau’s heritage and cultural values and its natural resources, and making a positive contribution to the community’s quality of life.

The VITF report recommends that the CBJ coordinate and centralize tourism functions. The final report was submitted at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and provides the Assembly with concrete steps to establish a proactive tourism management approach as the visitor industry returns to Juneau.

VITF Recommendations

  • Support development that alleviates pressure on existing infrastructure (CBJ)
  • Complete development of the seawalk (CBJ)
  • Take a more active role in ship scheduling (CBJ, CLAA)
  • Promote efficient ship scheduling to manage congestion (CBJ, CLAA)
  • Support cultural tourism and Native Art in public spaces (CBJ, industry)
  • Continue to operate TBMP over the long-term with peer pressure model for compliance (TBMP, industry)
  • Maintain and develop trails (Trail Mix, AK State Parks, USFS, CBJ)
  • Prioritize dock electrification and continue to work with utility to monitor capacity (AEL&P, CBJ)
  • Monitor water, wastewater, air quality (CBJ, AKDNR)
  • Develop marketing campaigns to promote local businesses, encourage cruise lines to support (Travel Juneau, industry, CBJ)
  • Complete a public survey on visitor impacts annually (CBJ)
  • Limit water usage by ships in times of drought (CLAA, CBJ)
  • Research and develop efforts to move people on and off the right-of-way including electric ferries, seawalk extension, connections to seawalk and other pedestrian routes (CBJ)
  • Establish a City & Borough tourism management office (CBJ)
  • Finish and implement Blueprint Downtown (CBJ)
  • Limit Parks & Recreation commercial use permits to manage the impacts on parks and trails (CBJ)
  • No cruise ships of any size in Auke Bay (CBJ)
  • Research how other US communities have identified limitations on visitor numbers (CBJ)
  • Focus pedestrian flow to crosswalks and desired destinations (CBJ + TBMP)
  • Require all commercial use permittees to be TBMP (and WhaleSENSE if applicable) members in good standing (CBJ)
  • Strategically assign ship berths based on ship size (CLAA)
  • Release ship schedules and passenger counts 2 years in advance or upon creation (CLAA)
  • Cruise lines will review last-minute schedule changes for weather, etc. with CBJ for community impact  (CBJ, CLIA)
  • Limit expansion of downtown dock infrastructure to allow for no more than one larger (750+ passengers) ship (CBJ, USCG)
  • Stagger ship arrival times by 30 minutes (CLAA)
  • Incentivize environmental best management practices through local award programs (Travel Juneau, CBJ/JCOS, Chamber)
  • Prohibit ship waste in landfill (CLAA, CLIA, CBJ)
  • Recognize businesses participating in “Adventure Green Alaska” program (Travel Juneau, CBJ)
  • Determine community goals and implement an action plan. For example: emissions, shore power, congestion mitigation, and development (CBJ)
  • Research and implement permitting system for whale watching operators (CBJ, NOAA, WhaleSENSE)
  • Prohibit larger ships anchoring and/or lightering in the channel if an additional dock is constructed (CBJ, USCG)
  • Periodically update commercial use fees (CBJ)
  • Assess tour permitting for streets and sidewalks and develop regulations if feasible (CBJ)
  • Improve pedestrian access between seawalk and South Franklin (CBJ)
  • Implement transportation improvements downtown (TBMP, AKDOT, CBJ)
  • Analyze the effects of hot berthing (CBJ)
  • Require assignment of shore power configured ships to electrified docks (CBJ, CLAA)
  • Negotiate with cruise lines to “get the peak out of the week” so number of visitors is spread more evenly (CLIA, CBJ, TBMP)
  • Develop regulations to reduce speed and wakes from whale watching vessels in Auke Bay and impacted areas (CBJ, NOAA)
  • Encourage and incentivize electrification of tourism vehicles (CBJ)
  • Plan and analyze the impacts tourism activities in areas outside of downtown development and regulate where appropriate (TBMP, CBJ)
  • If Norwegian Cruise Lines dock is operational, prohibit hot berthing as a scheduled practice (CLAA, CLIA)
  • Negotiate a formal agreement by 2023 to limit port capacity to 5 large ships per day (CBJ, CLIA)
  • Incentivize Juneau as a turn port for smaller ships (Travel Juneau, CBJ)
  • Consider staging areas outside downtown and deliveries made to downtown businesses outside of port call hours (CBJ, TBMP)

The VITF supports a Subport dock if the following conditions are met, recognizing that some of these conditions are beyond NCL or any other developers control. However, the Task Force submits these items for Assembly consideration in making policy decisions:

  1. One larger ship per day using one side of the facility;
  2. Maximum of five larger ships in port per day;
  3. No hot berthing at the new facility;
  4. No larger ships allowed to anchor as the sixth ship in town. Larger ships may anchor but the number of larger ships in port would still be limited to five (CBJ to consider legal ramifications of limiting size of ships at anchor);
  5. High quality uplands development for community and visitors;
  6. Year round development orientation;
  7. CBJ manages dock to some extent through a public private partnership or management agreement;
  8. Dock is electrified.
Implementation Status
Read the Final Report
Read the Survey Report

Upcoming and Past Meeting Agendas and Minutes

To see the full CBJ Meeting calendar, including these task force meetings, please click here.  Please check the CBJ calendar or call the Clerk’s Office 586-5278 for the most up-to-date information.

Agendas, Minutes, and Supplemental Materials will be posted on this web page below as they become available.

October 22, 2019 (TUES), in City Hall Conference Room #224 12:05 pm:    Agenda packet          Minutes

November 5, 2019 (TUES) , in City Hall Conference Room #224 12:05 pm:  Agenda packet         Minutes

December 3, 2019 (TUES), in City Hall Assembly Chambers 12:05 pm:        Agenda packet          Minutes

December 17, 2019 (TUES), in City Hall Assembly Chambers 12:05 pm:      Agenda packet         Minutes

January 7, 2020 (TUES), in City Hall Assembly Chambers 12:05 pm:          Agenda packet           Minutes

January 11, 2020 (SAT), in City Hall Assembly Chambers 10:00 am:      No Agenda packet         Minutes-Public Testimony

January 21, 2020 (TUES), in City Hall Assembly Chambers 12:05 pm:       Agenda packet            Minutes

February 1, 2020 (SAT), in City Hall Assembly Chambers 10:00 am:         Agenda packet             Minutes

February 18, 2020 (TUES), in City Hall Assembly Chambers 12:05 pm:   Agenda packet              Minutes

March 4, 2020 (WED), in City Hall Assembly Chambers at 4:30 pm:        Agenda packet               Minutes

March 8, 2020 (SUN), in City Hall Assembly Chambers at 10:00 am:        Agenda packet               Minutes

CANCELLED – March 19, 2020 (THURS)  Agenda with Draft ReportCANCELLED

April 23, 2020 (THURS) Virtual via Zoom Webinar at 12:00 pm:             Agenda packet

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PUBLIC TESTIMONY MEETINGS (individuals wishing to testify are asked to keep it to 3 minutes of testimony and are welcome to submit comments via [email protected] ahead of time or may submit written comments at the meetings)

  • Saturday, January 11, 2020, in City Hall Assembly Chambers at 10:00 a.m.
  • Thursday, January 16, 2020, in City Hall Assembly Chambers at 5:30 p.m.-cancelled due to extreme weather/high winds
  • Saturday, February 1, 2020, in City Hall Assembly Chambers at 10:00 a.m. Immediately followed by the Regular Visitor Industry Task Force Meeting

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Visitor Industry Task Force Members

Carole Triem, Chair – Assemblymember

Wade Bryson – Assemblymember

Public Member of the Task Force

Craig Dahl, Vice-Chair

Paula Terrel

Bobbie Meszaros

Holly Johnson

Alida Bus

Kirby Day

Meilani Schijvens

Dan Blanchard

If you wish to send comments to the task force, please email [email protected] and they will be forwarded to the entire task force.

CBJ Tourism Information previously worked on can be found on the City Manager’s web page: General Information – Tourism

Resolution 2170 A Resolution Adopting Tourism Management Policies

Juneau Tourism Management Plan Final Dra