Cruise ships will be welcomed back into Prince Rupert and Canadian waters as of November 1, ending the prohibition on the tourist vessels during the global pandemic, the Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra announced, on July 15.
The announcement in a media statement comes with the caveat that cruise ship operators must be able to comply with the public health requirements, however ends the one-year ban for cruise ships and Arctic pleasure craft until February 28, 2022 announced by the Government of Canada on Feb. 4.
Michael Gurney, President of Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce told The Northern View on July 17, that cruise tourism is a vital and profitable business for many Prince Rupert and Distrcit chamber members and businesses.
“We applaud the announcement by Transport Canada that ports will be opened to cruise ships earlier than anticipated … As a community, we look forward to welcoming cruise passengers back to one of the most culturally rich, ecologically diverse, and hospitable destinations in the North Pacific,” Gurney said.
The cruise ship industry represents more than $4 billion annual input into the Canadian economy and directly and indirectly generates approximately 30,000 jobs, making it an important part of Canada’s domestic tourism sector, Alghabra said.
The Chamber of Shipping backed the Minister’s announcement stating it was a clear and positive message.
“Recognizing the months of planning that it will take to resume cruise in time for the 2022 season, the Minister’s message today is a clear and positive signal to the industry to prepare,” Robert Lewis-Manning president of the Chamber of Shipping, said. “We were also very pleased that the Government of Canada is working with their U.S. counterparts to ensure a harmonized approach and experience for cruise passengers.”
Ensuring adequate resources are available for a smooth restart will be crucial to the successful resumption of Canada’s cruise industry, the Chamber of Shipping stated.
Alghabra said it is known that the maritime and tourism sectors have been hit hard by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we reopen safely, we are already preparing for the upcoming cruise season that will help grow our economy,” the minister stated.
“Transport Canada will continue to work with the Public Health Agency of Canada, other levels of government, the United States government, transportation industry stakeholders, Indigenous Peoples, and Arctic communities to help ensure Canadians and Canada’s transportation system remain safe and secure,” the media statement read.
“Meanwhile, we call on government officials to continue lobbying their U.S. counterparts to retain legislation that encourages Canadian port visits,” Gurney said.
K-J Millar | JournalistÂ
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