As much as I support the governor’s push for encouraging tourism, Alaskans need more to grease the wheels of tourism. While this year should be better than last in terms of tourist dollars, I don’t agree that better is good enough considering what businesses and families endured in 2020. Parts of Alaska’s industry and wellbeing need road and cruise ship access as much as air travel.
However, people wanting to travel by road and cruise ship are blocked from accessing Alaska through Canadian lands and waters. Therefore, I recommend Alaska’s congressional delegation to demand the Biden administration engage the Canadian Trudeau government to solve the border situation. Surplus vaccine donations to Canada would be a strong initial bargaining chip.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy joined Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Congressman Don Young in proposing some cautious — limited to medical, work, etc. — border crossing solutions to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in fall 2020. As we have adapted to the pandemic with vaccines and safer habits, broader benefits to all Alaskans should now be the goal. And more forceful diplomacy is a means to that end. Alaska is not really open for business if it’s just open to Alaskans and air travel.
— Chuck Cathcart
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