This is no Carnival for Southeast Alaskans
August 22, 2019
Carnival Corporation has been systematically acquiring all the towns in Alaska and Yukon over the past few decades. Carnival now owns several cruise lines, including Holland America, Princess, Cunard and Seabourn, as well as many docks and shops where they land. They started Holland America Princess Alaska Tours, now the largest tour company in the state, and hold other subsidiaries such as Westmark hotels, Westours Gray Line buses, Tour Alaska and Alaska Hotel Properties, to name a few.
With their recent acquisition of the White Pass & Yukon Route, Carnival is positioned to control all the transportation routes in this region. When gigantic amalgamated corporations take over, the vibrancy of a place goes with it. They maintain the illusion of independent businesses to conceal the control by a single corporation. Towns are reduced to a Hollywood stage that closes the curtain for winter. The opportunities for local residents dwindles, along with the freedom to contribute in unique and creative ways. This leads to increased poverty and crime, which are on the rise in nearby places including Juneau.
I love Haines because it has resisted corporate takeover and remains a sanctuary from hypercapitalism. Tourism in Haines can be beneficial to the people who live here, but when conglomerates like Carnival start creeping in, I am reminded that exploitation by greedy monopolists is close at hand.