history and culture. Huna Totem representatives met with cruise ship companies over the course of several years to market their concept of a privately owned, stand-alone facility close to the inside passage route to Glacier Bay.
In 2002, Royal Caribbean International indicated its interest in developing a day trip excursion for visitors. The following year, the company began construction of the cruise ship dock, which was completed in May 2004. In its first year of operation, Icy Strait Point received 32 cruise ships, an average of two ships a week for the 18 week season. This increased to 37 ships in 2005, and 71 ships in 2006.
Holland America Cruise Lines began stopping at Hoonah in 2007, bringing the annual number of ships up to 79 ships. The facility has heavy booking for 2008, with as many as 80 ships expected. The port can accommodate only one ship per day.
As the number of visitors grows, Huna Totem has continued to expand its offerings. Visitor options now include whale watching, fishing, demonstrations of tribal dancing and preparation of smoked salmon, bicycle and ATV treks, tours of Hoonah, flight seeing and bear viewing. In 2007, the company introduced a zip line – billed as “the world’s longest” – that generated national and international press coverage. Riders glide in a harness suspended from a steel cable for more than one mile, from a 1,300 foot mountaintop to the beach below. The port facility also offers restaurants, gift shops, a museum focused on the cannery and the salmon canning process, the Native Theatre and more than one-and-a-half miles of maintained walking trails.
Economic and Community Impact
12 year-round; 124 seasonal
Percent Local: Percent Native:
Huna Totem village corporation
Native corporation and its subsidiary
Years in Operation:
Icy Strait Point has been in operation since 2002
Huna Totem management met with Hoonah residents many times in the course of planning the development at Icy Strait Point. Hoonah residents are also Huna Totem shareholders, and they wanted jobs to go to locals, not outsiders. The community also wanted control over the content of the Tlingit culture component. Some cruise industry experts advised the corporation to bring in experienced tour guides from outside the community to assure the quality of
the visitor experience. Huna Totem management chose instead to develop the skills and professionalism of local people as their guides and hosts. To complement its local workforce, the corporation brought in a few upper level managers with previous cruise and tourism industry experience. This combination of local hire and experienced managers proved a successful one.
Huna Totem developed its own training curriculum as it gained the industry experience to train its own employees. Today the company has a 75 to 80 percent employee retention rate. Workers come from all age groups, but the corporation focuses its efforts on high school students during the winter to prepare them for successful summer employment.