Norwegian Bliss will be docked at Ketchikan’s Berth 3 on June 11, 2018. (Photo by Leila Kheiry / KRBD)

As summer approaches, Alaska’s travel industry is preparing for another uncertain season due to the pandemic.

Widely used vaccines have helped improve the Alaskan travel landscape, but Sarah Leonard, president and CEO of the Alaska Travel Industry Association, said it was still difficult to predict exactly what summer will be like.

“We are moving towards a hopeful summer of independent visitors as the bigger shipping season becomes increasingly uncertain,” said Leonard.

State and federal leaders have been trying to find ways to bring large ships back into the state this year. Leonard said she was grateful for that, but summer is just around the corner.

“I think the window will close quickly,” said Leonard. “We’re already here in April and summer is getting closer and closer.”

Earlier this month, Governor Mike Dunleavy suggested spending $ 150 million in US dollars for relief efforts in efforts to serve the tourism industry. And he added a new incentive for travelers coming to the state: vaccines. Leonard sees the extended availability as a good thing.

“ATIA has been committed to keeping our teams, our communities, Alaskans and visitors healthy and safe since the pandemic began,” said Leonard.

Leonard said she hoped for the independent travelers the industry awaits. She said if the state’s small businesses survive and continue on their recovery path, she will consider it a successful summer.