Vancouver welcomes its first cruise ship, prompting hope for tourism

 Monday, April 11, 2022 


As in the early Sunday morning, MS Koningsdam cruised under the Lions Gate Bridge; it wasn’t just carrying 1,200 passengers and 900 crew members. It hoped for rekindling the struggling tourism industry of Vancouver.

In almost 900 days, it’s the first cruise ship to arrive in the largest port in Canada, and is viewed by the hotel, restaurant and downtown retail sectors as a promising sign of what is to come.

“It’s kind of the bread and butter of Gastown,” Syd Gill, assistant general manager of Café Kitsuné in Gastown told Global News.

“We invest our entire year into making all of our profits in the tourist season, and cuisse ships are kind of the most reliable source of income, because you know every day a cruise ship is docking, thousands of people are coming on through, so you can count on that traffic.”

For two summer seasons, this source of customers weren’t there and merchants in Gastown, a tourism-reliant neighbourhood located nearby to the cruise terminals, have experienced the hurt.

As B.C. has pushed to promote domestic tourism to fill up the gap, it isn’t the same. The Tourism Industry Association of B.C. knows that international visitors spend three to five times as much as travellers from Canada.

“Our visitor economy was first and hardest hit and will be the longest to recover,” Royce Chwin, president and CEO of Destination Vancouver said at media event to welcome the Koningsdam.

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