Tourism drop sparks layoffs at Goldbelt

Posted: Thursday, October 25, 2001

JUNEAU (AP) -- Goldbelt Inc. will lay off 40 employees including nearly half of its executive staff following a drop in tourism income, company officials said Wednesday.

The urban Native corporation said it would cut 11 executive positions, five jobs at its subsidiaries, 12 jobs in Glacier Bay and 12 jobs at its Seattle subsidiaries.

Salaries for some managers will be cut by 10 percent and some managers will take two weeks unpaid leave during the winter, said Gary Droubay, chief executive officer.

The layoffs come in response to a slow tourist season and come on the heels of a $3.5 million loss in 2000.

The corporation began eliminating positions in early October. The last phase of layoffs were expected to be completed by Friday.

Goldbelt is an urban Native corporation in Juneau with 3,300 shareholders. The corporation operates tourism, cruise and lodging businesses in addition to managing stocks and land.

The corporation owns the Mount Roberts Tramway, Glacier Bay tours, Auk Nu tours and the Goldbelt Hotel.

Glacier Bay Lodge bookings, Auk Nu tour bookings, and Goldbelt Hotel sales were all down 10 percent this year, the corporation said.

A reduction in independent travelers and the ripple effects of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks combined to impact the corporation's performance.

''Between the slow economy which was already there and the incident on 9/11 ... were just trying to hold things together right now,'' Droubay said.

The corporation may also have to cancel its winter cruise to Baja, Mexico because of poor bookings, officials said.

Goldbelt employs 600 people. The corporation hires about 350 seasonal workers during the summer, officials said.

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