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.
Read the Final Report

Status of 2021 Projects

The Assembly has received updates on the VITF process at three different Committee of the Whole meetings. Most of the Assembly discussion has focused on the permitting and public outreach process for the subport development. However, staff is also working on establishing a Tourism Management Office and completing Blueprint Downtown. CBJ is also set to begin the first in a series of public surveys on visitor impacts within the next several months. The CBJ Juneau Commission on Sustainability is currently pursuing a federal grant for dock electrification.

Completed 2021 recommendations include:

  • Limit Parks & Recreation commercial use permits to manage the impacts on parks and trails
  • No cruise ships of any size in Auke Bay (Statter Harbor)
  • Stagger ship arrival times by 30 minutes
  • Require all Parks & Rec commercial use permittees to be members of TBMP (and WhaleSENSE if applicable) in good standing
  • Focus pedestrian flow to crosswalks and desired destinations

Ongoing recommendations complete or currently in progress include:

  • Continue to operate TBMP over the long-term with peer pressure model for compliance
  • Maintain and develop trails
  • Prioritize dock electrification and work with utility to monitor capacity
  • Monitor water, wastewater, air quality
  • Complete a public survey on visitor impacts annually
  • Limit water usage by ships in times of drought
  • Take a more active role in ship scheduling

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 city.clerk@juneau.org 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 City.Clerk@juneau.org 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 Draft April 2002

The following documents are provided to the Visitor Industry Task Force (VITF) members:

October 14, 2019 Mayor’s Charging Document creating the VITF

Downtown Waterfront Map

2020 Cruise Ship Calendar from Cruise Line Agencies of Alaska

Long Range Waterfront Plan – Adopted November 22, 2004

April 19, 2019 Assembly Child Care Committee Report to the Mayor (to be used as an example of the final report to be submitted by the VITF). Transmittal Memo from Child Care Committee Chair Loren Jones.

2019-10-24 Cruise Industry News Article: Carnival Increases Alaska Capacity with Freedom in 2021

2019-10-31 Juneau Empire Opinion Letter: Tourism Task Force is a Great Way to Give Constructive Feedback

2019-11-05 SeaTrade Cruise Article: Norwegian Reveals New Icy Strait Draws Including Travel by Gondola

2019-11-06 Cruise Industry News Article: RCL Announces 3 Ships for 2021 Alaska Program

JEDC-Juneau Hourly Cruise Passenger Volume Analysis

2019-11-9 Grist Article: Oslo Wants to Build the Worlds First Zero Emissions Port

2019-11-21 KTN-KDN More to Come

2019-11-23 JCOS Letter to VITF on Dock Electrification

2019-11-23 JCOS CBJ Dock Electrification Backgrounder Fact Sheet from 1-2-2019

2019-11-23 JCOS Royal Princess Environmental and Electrification Tour Report 8-14-2019

2019-12-17 Docks & Harbors VITF Presentation

2019-12-17 USFS Mendenhall Visitor Center VITF Presentation

2019-12-17 NOAA Whale SENSE VITF Presentation

2019-12-17 Drew Green of CLAA VITF Presentation

2019-12-23 Petersburg Pilot CVB Discusses Tourism Best Management Practices

2020-01-07 Captain White, USCG Presentation

2020-01-01 Alaska Beyond Magazine Article-Kuleana New Campaign Promoting Responsible, Safe, Aware and Enjoyable Travel in Hawaii

2020-01-14 Juneau Empire Opinion-Tourism Is a Locals Business

2020-02-04 Juneau Empire Article-Juneau Could Clear 1.5 Million Cruise Ship Tourists by 2021

The final day the public can submit comments to the Visitor Industry Task Force to be considered for its report is this Friday, February 21.

Following the February 21 deadline, the public can still submit comments to the Borough Assembly.

Public Comments sent to the City.Clerk@juneau.org or BoroughAssembly@juneau.org email addresses or City Clerk’s office at 155 S. Seward Street, Juneau, AK 99801, to the Volunteer Industry Task Force will be posted below in chronological order:

2-25-2020 Thane Neighborhood Wake Wave Request to MSTF and VITF

2-21-2020 Kate Glover and Rob Cadmus email to VITF

2-21-2020 John McConnochie letter to VITF and Assembly

2-21-2020 Allen Shattuck email to VITF

2-21-2020 Sharon Denton email to VITF

2-21-2020 Tom Rutecki letter to VITF

2-21-2020 Peter Ord email to VITF

2-21-2020 Marcy Larson for Alaskan Brewing Co letter to VITF and Assembly

2-21-2020 Steve Box email to VITF

2-21-2020 Nancy Davis and Joe Newman email to VITF

2-21-2020 John Ellenbecker email to VITF

2-21-2020 Laura Lucas letter to VITF

2-20-2020 Jean Shannon letter to VITF

2-20-2020 Diana Rossmiller email to VITF and Assembly

2-20-2020 John Joyce letter to VITF and Assembly

2-20-2020 Douglas Mertz email to VITF

2-20-2020 Gene Whiting email to VITF

2-19-2020 Zia Boccaccio email to VITF and Assembly

2-17-2020 Joshua Adams letter to VITF and Assembly

2-16-2020 Jerick Ibias email to VITF

2-16-2020 Susan Schrader email to VITF

2-14-2020 Sealaska Heritage letter to VITF and Assembly

2-14-2020 Suzie Teerlink re NOAA Whale SENSE letter to VITF and Assembly

2-12-2020 Russell Dick for Huna Totem Corp letter to VITF

2-11-2020 Howard Sherman with NCL email to VITF and Assembly

2-6-2020 Bob Janes email to VITF re Alaska Ocean Center

2-4-2020 Reed Stoops Franklin Dock Enterprises letter to VITF

2-3-2020 Alan Corbett email to VITF and Assembly

2-2-2020 Tom Paul email to VITF

2-1-2020 Bruce Weeks letter to VITF

2-1-2020 Bridget Smith letter to VITF

2-1-2020 Page Bridges letter to VITF

2-1-2020 Angie Thrower letter to VITF

2-1-2020 Laura Stats email to VITF

2-1-2020 Jeremy Bauer email to VITF

2-1-2020 Arne Ellefson-Carnes email to VITF

2-1-2020 Ann Metcalfe letter to VITF

2-1-2020 Dave Klein email to VITF

2-1-2020 Karla Hart email to VITF and Assembly

1-31-2020 Aaron Blust email to VITF

1-31-2020 Wayne Carnes email to VITF

1-31-2020 Merry Ellefson email to VITF

1-31-2020 Heidi Pearson letter to VITF and Assembly

1-31-2020 Brenda Weaver email to VITF

1-31-2020 Linda Blefgen letter to VITF and Assembly

1-31-2020 Juneau Chamber of Commerce letter to VITF

1-31-2020 Emily Kane email to VITF

1-31-2020 Anne Fuller email to VITF

1-31-2020 Judy Sherburne letter to VITF

1-30-2020 Zak Kirkpatrick of Allen Marine letter to VITF and Assembly

1-30-2020 Steve Bradford email to VITF

1-30-2020 Jayleen Bydlon letter to VITF

1-29-2020 Fred Hiltner letter to VITF

1-29-2020 Cam Byrnes letter to VITF

1-29-2020 Ray Preston letter to VITF and Assembly

1-27-2020 Jennifer Strumfeld email to VITF

1-26-2020 Steve Morley email to VITF

1-24-2020 Stephanie Hoag email to VITF

1-24-2020 Win Gruening My Turn

1-23-2020 Mike Wallisch letter to VITF

1-22-2020 Chris Meier letter to VITF

1-21-2020 Midgi Moore letter to VITF

1-21-2020 Joyanne Bloom email to VITF

1-20-2020 Kate Troll My Turn

1-20-2020 Holly Reeder email to VITF

1-20-2020 Sue Schrader email to TBMP and VITF

1-17-2020 David Summers email to VITF

1-17-2020 Unplugged Adventures letter to VITF

1-17-2020 Bill Hagevig letter to VITF

1-17-2020 Larri Spengler email to VITF

1-17-2020 Trenton English letter to VITF and Assembly

1-16-2020 Corey Baxter email to VITF

1-16-2020 Hilary Young letter to VITF

1-16-2020 Jeff Arnold My Turn Letter

1-15-2020 Laura Martinson email to VITF

1-15-2020 Eric Forst-Red Dog Saloon email to VITF

1-15-2020 Aspen Suites Hotel letter to VITF

1-15-2020 Joanie Waller email to VITF

1-15-2020 Clay Good email to VITF

1-15-2020 Sandy Warner email to VITF with article link

1-15-2020 Robert Deering email to VITF

1-15-2020 Bruce Conant email to VITF and Assembly

1-15-2020 Thane Neighborhood Assn Tourism Suggestions

1-15-2020 Thane Neighborhood Assn Thoughts on Tourism Limits

1-15-2020 Anne Sutton letter to VITF

1-15-2020 Alaska Coach Tours letter to VITF

1-14-2020 Terry Hoskinson email to VITF

1-14-2020 Mike Ward letter to VITF

1-14-2020 Mike Hekkers email to VITF

1-14-2020 Carol Coyle email to VITF

1-14-2020 Patricia White email to VITF and Assembly

1-14-2020 Robert Young email to VITF and Assembly

1-14-2020 Auke Bay Slow Down Marker Petition

1-13-2020 Leslie Dahl email to VITF

1-13-2020 Chris Dimond email to VITF

1-13-2020 Wendy Wolf email to VITF

1-11-2020 Martha Stey letter to VITF

1-11-2020 Linda Blefgen letter to VITF

1-11-2020 Kimberly Metcalfe letter to VITF

1-11-2020 Matt Boline letter to VITF

1-11-2020 Laura Fleming letter to VITF

1-11-2020 Laurie Sica email to VITF

1-11-2020 Linda Vallie email to VITF

1-11-2020 Vicky McLaughlin email to VITF

1-11-2020 Bruce Baker to VITF

1-11-2020 Bob Bartholomew letter to VITF

1-10-2020 JCOS Memo to VITF Clean Port Initiative Comments

1-10-2020 Scott Bergmann email to VITF

1-10-2020 Jim Powell Summary of Neighborhood Assn Mtg to VITF

1-10-2020 Patricia White email to VITF

1-10-2020 Michael Wilson letter to VITF

1-10-2020 Dennis DeWitt email to VITF

1-10-2020 James Baldwin letter to VITF

1-10-2020 Kerry Kirkpatrick email to VITF

1-10-2020 Phil Wheeler email to VITF

1-10-2020 Mike Pilling email to VITF

1-9-2020 Bev Ingram email to VITF

1-8-2020 Greg Pilcher letter to Assembly

1-7-2020 Liz Perry letter to VITF

1-7-2020 Margo Waring letter to VITF

1-7-2020 Pat Race email to VITF

1-7-2020 Sara Willson email to VITF

1-7-2020 Elizabeth Figus email to VITF and Assembly

1-6-2020 Emily Kane email to Assembly

1-6-2020 Patricia White email to Assembly

1-6-2020 Laura Steele email to VITF and Assembly

1-6-2020 Gretchen Bishop email to VITF and Assembly

1-6-2020 carolyn v Brown email to VITF and Assembly

1-6-2020 Larri Spengler email to VITF and Assembly

1-5-2020 Jan Moyer email to VITF and Assembly

1-5-2020 Judy Crondahl email to VITF

1-5-2020 Nanci Spear email to VITF

1-4-2020 Grantley Moore letter to VITF and Assembly

1-3-2020 Deobrah Craig email to VITF

1-3-2020 Gretchen Bishop email to VITF

1-3-2020 Stuart Cohen letter to VITF

1-3-2020 Mariann Cummings email to VITF and Assembly

1-3-2020 Auke Bay Neighborhood Assn Lisa Greenough email to VITF

1-3-2020 Auke Bay Neighborhood Assn Kathleen Samalon email to VITF

1-02-2020 Alan Corbett email to VITF

1-1-2020 Mike Bethers email to VITF

12-30-2019 Kevin Burchfield letter to VITF

12-20-2019 Sierra Gadaire email to VITF

12-17-2019 Bill Leighty email to VITF and Assembly

12-16-2019 Ray Preston email to VITF

12-15-2019 Kevin Elliott email to VITF

12-10-2019 Karla Hart email to Assembly

12-10-2019 Brian Flory email to VITF and Assembly

12-7-2019 Jan Trigg and Peter Naoroz email to VITF and Assembly

12-4-2019 Steve Bradford email to VITF

11-14-2019 Brian Flory email to VITF

11-10-2019 Emily Kane email to VITF

11-07-2019 Kevin Elliott email to VITF

11-06-2019 Bill Leighty email to the Assembly and VITF with attachments