Way Too Much Love? Sitka Staggers Under Weight Of 3 Cruise Ships In One Day

 More Tourists Swarmed Sitka's Streets In A Single Day Than Make Their Homes In The Town  When Mass Tourism Is A Problem  Multiple Cruis...

 More Tourists Swarmed Sitka's Streets In A Single Day Than Make Their Homes In The Town 

When Mass Tourism Is A Problem 

Multiple Cruise Ships Arrived Together At Sitka 

Phone Service Crashed 

Up to 13,000 people disgorged, all at once, in the scenic little town of Sitka from multiple docked cruise ships on June 21st, 2023 – the longest day of the Alaskan summer. And the results were staggering. Even the mayor, Steven Eisenbeisz (who owns a store in Sitka), began to ponder if this unbridled crush of people flooding Sitka's small streets was a problem. 

This was big news along the ocean route north from Washington State. A number of news sources down in Southeast covered Sitka's sudden one-day population surge. 

The city was overrun, as overuse hit the web services at Sitka City Hall, the mayor told KTOO News. The city's computers slowed. The phones went down. The Science Center closed early at 3 pm, not able to handle the crowds. 

Location of Sitka on Google Maps. 

It was apparently a state of emergency, as Sitka, which has a stated population of around 8,400 people, was completely outnumbered when the cruise ships Eurodam, Quantum of the Seas and Ruby Princess all arrived together that day. 

Sitka's quandary involving cruise ships is quite different from the one that faced Valdez recently, when the Norwegian Spirit abandoned Valdez with no notice, leaving businesses in the lurch. 

It is far different from the challenges of roadside Alaska tourism, where many visitors show up sporadically, driving independently through Alaska on road trips that (for many Europeans)  last up tor three weeks and include hundreds of short independent stops all over Alaska.

•••

Yet, the issue of "overtourism" -- much, but not all of it centered around cruise tourism — has moved to the forefront in many famous tourist places throughout the world:  Greece, Venice, Portugal, India, the Great Wall of China... Even Mt. Everest. 

A cursory Google Images search for "overtourism" shows the drawbacks of mass tourism: 





The M.S. Eurodam carries 2,104 passengers and 929 crew. The Quantum of the Seas carries up to 4,905 passengers and 1,500 crew. And the Ruby Princess carries up to 3,080 passengers and 1,200 crew. 

The Ruby Princess features 14 dining rooms and 7 "showrooms/lounges" in addition to shops, a wedding chapel, a fitness center, and over 800 staterooms with balconies. 

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