No plans for the summer? Come on by! Alaska says that it is officially open for tourists this summer. In fact, the Alaska Travel Industry Association made the announcement that the state is open for business this week during a live virtual event. Here’s what you need to know.
Covid-19 Summer Travel: Alaska Is Fully Open For Tourists
Right now, 40 percent of adults in Alaska over the age of 16 are vaccinated, making this a perfect opportunity for out-of-state tourists to visit. Alaska was especially hit hard by the pandemic and the economic fallout that followed it, as the state depends on tourism. With big-ship cruise operations shut down for the time being, the state might lose about $3.3 billion in gross state product.
The shutdown has impacted both big and small businesses and that’s why the state is doing what it can to court independent travelers to visit Alaska by road, railroad, plane, and ferries.
“Alaska is open and doing an exceptional job managing the pandemic,” said Sarah Leonard, president and CEO of ATIA. “Partly because we know how to social distance in our wide-open spaces, but mostly because our state did a phenomenal job with the vaccine rollout.”
If that weren’t enough, there’s also a separate report that says Alaska will give tourists free Covid-19 vaccines this summer. Travelers will be able to get their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine starting June 1st, according to Alaska’s Gov. Mike Dunleavy.
“What we want to do is make sure that our fantastic tourist industry — including the cruise ships, including our hospitality in our ancillary businesses — have an opportunity to get back to where they were,” Dunleavy said, adding, “The idea is if we have excess vaccines, why not use them? So what we’re saying to our tourists is… if you come to Alaska, you get a free vaccination if you want one.”
As of press time, vaccines are only approved for people 16 years old and older. As far as vaccinations are concerned, the state has been on a roll: so far 47.1% of Alaskans 16 and older have received at least one dose of a vaccine and 39.1% have been fully vaccinated.