Published on : Friday, March 13, 2020
The financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread as dramatically as the virus, and Thursday’s development will suck millions of dollars out of Vancouver’s tourism industry. The princess Cruise Lines has announced it will dock its entire fleet for a minimum of 60 days. The decision will impact at least five scheduled stops in Vancouver between now and mid-May.
According to Tourism Vancouver, each cruise ship that sails under the Lions Gate bridge to dock at Canada Place is worth an average of $3 million to the local economy. The decision by Princess will hit hotels, tour operators and the restaurant industry hard.
Ian Tostenson of the BC Restaurant and Food Service Association said that he just talked to a restauranteur here in the city – they own several restaurants – and they can last for maybe three months and then they’re gone, and they’re toast and they are bankrupt said. It means thousands of jobs gone.
The local cruise ship season generally takes off in earnest in May, around the time Princess plans to begin sailing again. Of course, that decision could change over coronavirus fears.
Penny Chapman said that he would definitely not take a cruise at the moment, just because of how the virus spreads A number of cruise lines have waived fees for people wishing to change or cancel their bookings, and that means even the ships that do call on Vancouver in the next few weeks may not be full.
Sanjay Goel, president of Cruise Connections Canada said that they are processing more cancellations than bookings.
Both the federal and provincial health ministries have advised Canadians to avoid cruise travel during the pandemic, but so far officials haven’t banned the ships from Canadian ports of call.
More than 230 ships call on Vancouver each year and if Princess decides to extend its hiatus or other cruise lines cancel their sailings as well, the economic hit will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.