Island tourism industry feeling the impact of latest provincial restrictions

Island tourism industry feeling the impact of latest provincial restrictions

Before travel restrictions, Victoria’s Inner Harbour would be full of boats leaving with tourists to go whale watching.

These days, however, only three boats with Prince of Whales are operating and nothing has been booked for this Friday or Saturday.

Ian MacPhee is the financial controller at Prince of Whales Adventures.

He said many are cancelling in light of the new travel ban.

“Well, we’re certainly seeing cancellations, quite a few,” MacPhee said. “We’re also seeing people calling and wanting to get clarity on whether they can go out or not.”

Staff are now explaining to out-of-town guests why their reservations are cancelled over the next five weeks.

“We’re letting them know that that’s not in keeping with the current health orders,” MacPhee said.

On the west coast of Vancouver Island, this is the time of year Tofino is filling up with visitors from around the world.

Instead, the message is loud and clear to all thinking for travelling there, according to Tofino councillor Britt Chalmers.

“Don’t travel don’t come to Tofino, let’s get through these variants and, hopefully, be able to welcome people back in the summer,” said Chalmers.

At one of the resort community’s hotels, the Long Beach Lodge Resort on Cox Bay Beach, it should be packed with guests.

This isn’t the case as the hotel issued a statement that it’s contacting guests outside the region, asking them to rebook their visits when they are permitted to travel again.

Paul Nursey, CEO of Destination Greater Victoria, said tourism operators understand the travel restrictions despite the cost.

“It really hurts. There’s no sugar-coating that,” Nursey told CHEK News.

It is no secret that the tourism and hospitality industry has been hit hard by the pandemic and now, many are hoping these latest measures will reduce the transmission of the virus and allow for things to open ahead of summer.

“It’s really challenging for our industry,” Nursey said. “But the general consensus is we would rather take this action now, than risk losing the summer season.”

“Stay home. And it goes for us too,” Chalmers said. “We need to stay in Tofino as well.”

The hope is that now everyone takes that advice to stay as close to home as possible until May 25.

WATCH: Can you travel from Victoria to Ucluelet under new restrictions? Yes, but premier says stick to your community

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!