Victoria tourism suffers heavily from coronavirus outbreak!

Published on : Wednesday, March 4, 2020

A month today, the first cruise ship of the season will sail into Victoria. Along with this, piling concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.


This is because two-thirds of the ships that dock at the busiest cruise ports of Canada are travelling from Seattle, the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S.


“A team from the CDC federally is now on the ground assisting officials from King Country with the investigation of the cases,” Washington Governor Jay Inslee says.


With nine people dead and at least 27 testing positive for the virus in King and Snohomish counties, over a dozen schools in western Washington have temporarily shut down for deep cleanings.


Both the Victoria Clipper, which sails to downtown Seattle, and the Coho to Port Angeles are at present are increasing sanitation efforts on vessels along with the terminals.


“Now that it’s in Seattle, I think we certainly are very concerned,” says Ryan Burles, president of the Black Ball Ferry Line which operates the Coho. “At this stage, I think you have to air on the side of caution.”


They both are offering free refunds for anyone worried about travelling.


And bookings are already taking a hit.


“Is it going to be a blip?” Burles says. “Is it going to be something that lasts longer? It’s hard to know. We need to keep an eye on it.”


Of out tourists, ten per cent are from Washington State, as four per cent come from China.


However with coronavirus outbreaks also in Europe and the Middle East, the busy spring and summer seasons for one of our biggest industries could take a big hit.


“I don’t know,” says Destination Victoria CEO Paul Nursey. “We have to plan to be nimble and we’ll work our way through. I think the biggest thing is to make sure we’re not exaggerating.”

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