Renee Brincks
Renee Brincks

Alaska destinations are monitoring the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus as they prepare for the summer travel season.

While the illness has so far had a limited impact in the United States, inbound guests from China represent a growing part of Alaska's travel international market. Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA) statistics shared by Explore Fairbanks show that Alaska saw nearly 6,000 Chinese travelers throughout 2019, and the market segment has grown by more than 70% since 2013.

Fairbanks representatives said the destination has seen some winter-season cancellations among China-based groups. The majority of winter guests visit from within the United States, however, and a smaller percentage are Chinese students already living in the U.S.

To date, the destination hasn't seen changes in summer 2020 bookings.

"There is a general consensus that, although the short-term business has been affected, there will be a rebound in Fairbanks from China-originating travelers during late summer and during the Chinese holidays in October," said a statement from Explore Fairbanks.

Destination representatives in Juneau are communicating with CLIA and Cruise Line Agencies of Alaska to track any new travel protocols related to the virus. Locally, many operators are taking a wait-and-see approach to any itinerary changes or future cancellations.

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