When cruise ships pass through the B.C. region they normally stop in Vancouver, or Victoria, and travelers get off the ship for a little visit. That stop is a move for B.C. tourism that brings in a lot of business to the local economy.
One cruise ship alone could bring in $3 million or more.
There are dozens of ships that will pass through Vancouver, and other areas of B.C., coming from dozens of different cruise lines. And that business is very important for the Port of Vancouver and local economy of B.C.. The hotels, cafes, tourist shops, and a variety of other services and businesses etc, they will all lose out significantly if this cruise ship traffic changes.
Right now, there is some worry that in the future those ships might bypass B.C. Under recently tabled U.S. legislation, it would allow cruise ships to sail around current restrictions that stipulate they must make a stop in Victoria or Vancouver. Instead, it would allow them to continue on to their destination.
They are doing this because in the U.S. they want to try and kick-start their own cruise ship economy and this is what they’ve come up with to do it because of the Canadian restrictions that are still in place for cruise ships.
There is some worry for B.C. about if this might become permanent, what that might mean for the local economy.
That would mean millions of dollars would be lost because those tourists wouldn’t be visiting the B.C. region. Instead, they would stay on their ship and continue to where they were going.
Those in the B.C. tourism sector are understandably nervous about this announcement, this move could have a devastating impact in the long run.
The recently tabled legislation in the U.S. was reportedly being sponsored by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and it isn’t clear what long term changes this might mean, if ships will bypass B.C. ports entirely on a permanent basis.
This legislative move comes after U.S. politicians expressed how frustrated they were with Canadian restrictions to international travel still.
Canada is still banning cruise ships until Feb 2022.
This was a way that the U.S. was trying to find a solution to their problem and work to protect their interests by getting ships back running on schedule. Banning cruise ships for that long, until 2022, could also have a detrimental effect on the economy for Alaska as well.
If all cruise ships are to stop until Canada is ready to open for cruise business again, other economies are going to be negatively impacted by that decision.
More than 2 million visitors travel to Alaska every year. Their tourism economy represents at least 1 in 10 jobs in the state and brings in billions yearly, the cruise industry is a big part of that.
Those lawmakers in the U.S. who raised concerns about the cruise industry note that the decision to put off cruise ships coming into Vancouver or other B.C. regions etc at least until Feb 2022 is going to mean a significant disruption in the industry. This move is going to negatively impact the economy for the state of Alaska that is already suffering because of COVID-19.
They want the Canadian government to reconsider the year-long ban on cruise ships that will be traveling through Canadian waters.
Some are hoping that the currently tabled legislation is going to be stalled. Or that it won’t become permanent in the long-run. Even if it does pass, those in the cruise ship industry in B.C. suggest that it likely won’t become permanent. It reads as if the recently tabled legislation has only come up because the Canadian border is still closed for cruise ships.
If it did become permanent though then it would be devastating to the economy for Vancouver.
Many businesses in the downtown Vancouver region are struggling right now because the lack of international travelers and tourism going on. With no cruise ships coming through, the normal cafes and restaurants are bustling like they usually would be.
There are many small businesses in that chain that will suffer, who cater to hotels and other venues, who are losing business because of those restrictions on cruise ships coming to B.C.
The cruise industry alone is bringing more than $2.5 billion into the B.C. economy.
That is hundreds of different businesses all around the region from bike businesses to car services, tour operators, gift shops, and other venues, that are going relying on seeing that cruise ship business sometime again in the future.
For the U.S. it seems like a technical fix for the Alaska bound cruise ships because they wouldn’t be required to stop in B.C. ports any longer and could continue on to wherever they might be going. They too are looking to safely resume their cruise ship industry that has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, losing billions and thousands of jobs being lost as well.