Right now US lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it so that their cruise ships bypass Canada for good. Thousands of cruise ships will come through Vancouver ports each year as they make their way onto their final destination. For those who are traveling to Alaska they get the chance to stop in Vancouver first and this helps to bring in a great deal of money into the local economy.
From hotels to cafes and restaurants etc, many businesses thrive because of this tourism spending.
The pandemic changed things for the cruise industry. All of a sudden borders closed and international travel plummeted. No more cruise ships were coming through and it would be a long time before we would see them again.
Cruise ships in the United States might be ready to get back to business but for Canada they have still banned those cruise ships from returning to normal until next year. That isn’t going to work for the United States and they have already passed legislation that would allow ships to temporarily bypass Canadian ports in Vancouver for example and make their way onto their other final destination, such as Alaska.
If that current bill passes then there is the assumption that it could have a devastating impact to the local economy here that heavily relies on those cruises coming through the area.
That would be billions of dollars that wouldn’t be coming through to the local economy any longer and that has some in the industry nervous about the potential changes.
In that bill that US lawmakers are potentially looking to pass, would enable cruise ships to bypass Canadian ports for good. Tourism associations are rightly concerned about the implications that this could have. Some businesses are already worried about what that might mean for the future, especially small businesses that have already struggled through the pandemic. Downtown Vancouver wouldn’t be the same without the frequent cruise ships coming through, the cruise traffic in Vancouver plays a significant role here in the community and economy.
If those cruise ships bypass Canada for good then what is that going to mean for the economy here? Hundreds of thousands of passengers won’t be coming through Vancouver any longer and dining at restaurants, staying at hotels, and helping to support a network of businesses in the economy here.
A Call To End The Canadian Cruise Ship Ban
The reason that lawmakers are seeking to bypass Canada is because of those restrictions that are still in place that prevent cruise ships from coming around until next year. Traditionally we would see a cruise leave from the United States and then pause in ports in Vancouver for example, before making their way onto a popular destination like Alaska. If they cannot make that stop in Vancouver then they are prevented from carrying through on their journey altogether, and Canada still has the cruise ban in place because of the pandemic until early next year.
If the cruise market in the United States is ready to go and Canada is not yet there yet then we have a problem. To try and solve that we have seen one legislative solution after the other come from the United States. First it was to temporarily bypass, which sprung up concerns that this might become a permanent change. Now those fears are being further realized with the current pending legislation to make this a permanent bypass of Canadian ports for cruise ships.
Canadian Cruise Ship Ban Currently In Place Until February 2022.
Now there are growing calls in Canada to end the cruise ship ban before things change for good and get worse. Vaccination rates are climbing around the United States and Canada, B.C. has also unveiled their reopening plans. If things continue going well with case declines then that could mean seeing an end to masks as early as this fall, along with other COVID-19 restrictions that had been put into place. Cruise ships might not need to be prevented from coming in until next year then.
Already we are seeing growing discussions surrounding the border reopening soon between Canada and the United States and so we also might see things change for the cruise industry. That ban on cruise ships not coming through until next year might change early because of these potential legislative changes coming from the U.S. now.
Now those in the transportation and tourism industry are engaged in urgent meetings to try and decide how to navigate this issue. There are many who are interested in working to ensure that both tourism industries will come back strong and cruise ships need to get back to normal in order to do that.