Cruise ship cancellations due to COVID-19 outbreak could damage local economy

WatchWe are still waiting for word from Transport Canada on the status of cruise ship seasons but one company has already suspended travel.

It’s a staple of the Greater Victoria Economy.

But with the drastic spread of COVID-19, cruise ship season could take a drastic hit.

On Thursday, Princess Cruises announced it is cancelling all operations for sixty days. Four of their ships were scheduled to visit Ogden Point.

“[It’s] relief for a lot of people and quite honestly for us as an organization, that we won’t see the Grand Princess, which is the ship that is in quarantine off the California coast.” said Greater Victoria Harbour Authority CEO Ian Robertson.

Victoria Council is pushing to suspend all upcoming cruise travel. The council passed a motion Thursday asking Transport Canada and the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority to cancel all planned cruise visits to the city until the risk of COVID-19 decreases.

“What I’ve heard from the public is they have concerns about the cruise sector. They want the various entities to follow the advice of the health officer,” said Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt.

But no cruise ships would mean no pay cheque for many people. The industry pumps in over 130 million dollars into the economy and employs roughly 1000 people.

“Many of the businesses that benefit from cruise are small operators, entrepreneurs that rely on cruise and the passengers coming here to provide meals for their family and their livelihood,” Robertson said.

At Departures Travel in Sydney, roughly 75 per cent of their dealings involve the cruise industry. “It’s going to be a bit bumpy for the next month or so. It’s just going to have a ripple effect to every community. All of the shore excursions they do, into the gardens, tours out of town.” Said the CEO of Departures Travel Cathy Larsen.

Transport Canada remains in communication with health officials, but for now, no bans have been put in place.



Ben NesbitBen Nesbit

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