Ketchikan, AK (KINY) - An issue about having tour guides on Mountain Point was brought up at the Ketchikan City Council meeting.
Tour operator Mary Stephenson chided the Ketchikan City council for not allowing tour guides at Mountain Point. The area is a popular site for people trying to launch their boats. City officials said that it was not developed with tourists in mind.
Tour companies can currently take visitors to the boat launch, but only if they are transferring them to charter boats.
Stephenson pointed out the collective value of the tourism businesses and how some are starting to see the city as an obstacle to overcome.
"The six tour operators who signed the 2018 Dock Vendor Contracts represent over 125 years of expertise in tourism. Their business has strengthened Ketchikan's economy and help balance the annual budget of both the city and borough shortfalls. One has commented that he is doubtful that he will sign the next contract in 2020; he would rather close shop and retire than continue to do battle with City Hall."
Stephenson urged the city to allow tour guides to use Mount Point.
"What has happened at Mountain Point is an example of poor leadership and a lack of a moral compass towards the business owners in Ketchikan. It is time to acknowledge that Ketchikan does not have a healthy relationship with retailers, wholesalers, restaurants, air, land, and sea tour operators. Longtime loyal constituents will abandon their investments instead of restoring, replacing, or rebuilding after their asking for assistance was denied."
"The pendulum is swinging as it does with hard realities and Ketchikan is losing its soul to the cruise ship industry."
Stephenson also gave a strongly worded message about not allowing many tour guides to use Mount Point.
"In summary, bad business practices are pushed into the dark when fairness, integrity, loyalty, and honesty are not honored in daily transactions. When accountability is owned only when caught in the deception, the questions are asked and like the light is flipped on the bugs scatter."