Tongass National Forest, National Geographic Magazine: Cruise Ships Carry Tourists

In spite of the 200 inches of rain the area receives every year, nearly a million cruise ship passengers visit Alaska, sometimes doubling a town’s population on a summer day. As many as six cruise ships make daily stops (and as many as 500 a year), bringing tourists on the Inside Passage (the route through a network of passages between islands along the coast of Alaska, British Columbia and Washington state). Tourism is Southeast Alaska’s fastest growing industry.

One of the stops in Alaska’s Panhandle is the former logging town of Ketchikan, which now relies on tourism. Travelers can shop for native art and souvenirs or diamonds in one of many jewelry stores along what was a former red-light district during the Gold Rush. The Misty Fjords National Monument is one of the area’s major attractions.

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