Alaska tourism may be on the upswing after two years of downturn, according to a report out of Fairbanks.

The Daily News Miner reported that Fairbanks' bed tax is back to 2008 levels, to $1.5 million by the end of August, up $200,000 from the same time last year.

The article noted that businesses with a mix of independent travelers, group tours and cruisers were doing better.

However, the article noted that not all tourism had rebounded: Fairbanks depends heavily on the cruise industry, which sent 140,000 fewer passengers to Alaska this summer.

The report said that businesses like the Riverboat Discovery and El Dorado Gold Mine tour, which receives the majority of its customers from cruise ships, was down 10% from 2009 and 40% from 2008.

"I’ve been hearing people say they’re up, but that’s not the case again for us," Ryan Binkley, president of the company, told the newspaper. "That’s why I think this message is getting kind of confused."

Binkley said he eliminated 70 out of 200 seasonal positions and some of the company's 15 full-time employees, which he called "a big blow for the local job market. And some of our 15 full-time employees."

Binkley said he was "cautiously optimistic" that the reduction in the cruise tax would help.


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