Petersburg debates cruise tours
Pro-tourism Petersburg residents shouted down
the town’s mayor, Mark Jensen, over a letter Jensen proposed to Viking Cruise Lines asking the compa- ny to delay a plan for cruise vessel stops, saying the Southeast fishing town “isn’t ready” for large-scale tourism. Local people objected, saying they want the economic benefits. Viking officials visited Petersburg in August, looking for vessel stops for the 2020 sum- mer season. Petersburg had 8,850 visitors this year. Nearby Wrangell, in contrast, had 16,000 without the town’s character being affected.
Fairbanks delays hike in hotel tax
Fairbanks’ city council postponed a vote on a proposed increase in the hotel/motel “bed” tax from 8 percent to 10.5 percent. The increase would occur in increments and reach the top rate in 2021. The in- crease, if it happens, would raise an additional $2.4 million in revenues. The vote is delayed to the June, 2019 meeting, so that a better picture of city finances is available. The bed tax money is used for tourism promotion and economic development activity.