MV Coho has carried passengers and vehicles from Washington state to B.C. since 1959. (Black Ball Ferry Line)

Hope for ‘Cascadia’ tourism amid COVID-19 border restrictions

Washington, Yukon, Alaska reopening, B.C. hotels set to restart

As some of B.C.’s landmark hotels prepare to reopen in June, the first tentative signs of a renewal of tourism have begun to emerge, with a focus on domestic travel within the province and its West Coast neighbours.

The longest-running symbol of the economic region now called “Cascadia” is the Black Ball Ferry Line’s MV Coho, which has linked Washington and B.C. since 1959. With the Empress Hotel preparing for a late June reopening along with the Grand Pacific next to the B.C. legislature, the Coho and the passenger-only Victoria Clipper from Seattle have hopes for a resumption of service in July, depending on easing of restrictions at the Canada-U.S. border.

MV Coho, which carries vehicles and passengers between Victoria and Port Angeles, has a schedule to resume sailings in July, with a note on its website: “Our July sailings are in pending status until we learn when the border will re-open for non-essential travel and it is considered safe for people to begin traveling again.”

Washington emerged as an early hotspot for COVID-19, prompting B.C. Premier John Horgan to press the federal government for stronger border measures to force 14-day isolation for returning Canadians and others entering B.C.

With new daily cases down from a spike in late March to below 150 as of mid-May, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has announced a phased resumption of business similar to that of B.C.

Alaska, a long-time summer cruise destination for B.C. and West Coast states, has so few COVID-19 cases that Gov. Mike Dunleavy has jumped his restart plan ahead to full business resumption effective today (May 22).

Yukon Premier Sandy Silver’s restart plan is also proceeding, without fixed dates but a similar approach as B.C.

JUNEAU EMPIRE: Alaska accelerates its COVID-19 reopening plan

YUKON NEWS: Businesses to submit reopening plans by end of May

VICTORIA NEWS: West Coast Traveller connects Alberta, Alaska, B.C.

Destination B.C., the province’s lead tourism agency, has turned its focus from international to domestic promotion with the release of B.C.’s staged reopening plan.

“Now that we have some certainty about how the re-start will unfold, Destination B.C. is approaching our marketing recovery in phases that align with the province’s restart plan, with near-term plans to support tourism and hospitality businesses, and strengthen British Columbians’ desire for future travel in B.C. – something that will have a tremendous impact on the long-term wellbeing of our industry,” Destination B.C. CEO Marsha Walden said in a message to industry.

Black Press Media has launched its own B.C. tourism promotion, West Coast Traveller, in line with Destination B.C.’s approach.

Horgan’s often-repeated message to B.C. residents to stay close to home was reinforced this week by restrictions on camping reservations to in-province customers as parks get set to reopen campgrounds.

With some provinces attempting to bar interprovincial travel, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has maintained that the province does not have authority to stop people from Alberta or other parts of Canada from visiting. Henry and Horgan have relied on public appeals to people to keep their recreation close to home.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Just Posted

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

UPDATED: Man dies from injuries at Custom House construction site in Victoria

Government Street remains closed as investigation continues

Oak Bay sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Glenn Wakefield’s rescue involved five airplanes and took more than 48 hours

Nanaimo RCMP shut down illegal racing and stunt driving site at Duke Point

Police “swoop in” to seize vehicles and issue violation tickets

First storm of the season expected to hit Vancouver Island tonight

Environment Canada has issued a storm warning with wind, and rain that could last into the weekend

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

VIJHL season could start Oct. 1, says league president

League awaiting final approval from local health authorities and viaSport

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley seeks reelection

Routley has served as MLA for the area since 2005.

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

B.C. ELECTION: Island MLA Adam Olsen says NDP is sacrificing health for politics

Olsen acknowledges situation of a snap election is not ideal for BC Greens,

Babchuk nominated as NDP candidate

Seeks to replace outgoing MLA Claire Trevena

Most Read