Alaska and Washington have a long and fruitful relationship going back to the gold rush days of the 19th century. We are both known for our pioneer spirit and our natural beauty.
Indeed, the bountiful natural resources of our two states and our geographic locations are a key part of what makes our economies tick.
We are tied together by numerous industries — tourism, energy, seafood and our ports.
While Washington is proud of our international export markets, we recognize the volume of exports to Alaska is substantial. In fact, over the past decade, Washington’s exports to Alaska have grown more than 50 percent.
We know that it is in the best interest of both of our states to ensure that we operate safe and efficient ports, waterways and crews, with 97 percent of Alaska’s goods traveling through Washington ports.
Tourism is another strong tie that binds our two states. Cruises departing from Seattle and traveling to Alaska bring over $200 million in revenue into Washington and treat more than a half a million visitors to the unique beauty of Alaska. In addition, Alaska Airlines, with dozens of direct flights between Seattle and Alaska cities every day, carries thousands of additional tourists between our two states.
Working together, we’ve seen both of our economies thrive. And I’m committed to maintaining Washington’s strong relationship with Alaska. Just last year, I traveled to Alaska to discuss shared goals, and how we can work together to benefit both Washingtonians and Alaskans. I focused on tourism and fishing, shipping and the proposed Alaska natural gas pipeline because these issues bring common benefits to our two states.
We are connected by our people, our geography and our industries. It is important to keep building on these strong relationships.