The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is expecting four additional cruise ship calls after Celebrity Cruises pulled anchor from its Asia tour. (Black Press Media file photo)

Victoria to see extra ships after cruise company cancels Asia tour in wake of COVID-19

Coronovirus fears cause Celebrity Cruises to head west early

Victoria expects to see some extra cruise ships this year as at least on cruise line pulls anchor from Asia to bypass the epicentre of COVID-19, formerly called coronavirus.

Celebrity Cruises typically doesn’t start its Pacific routes – between California and Alaska with a stop in Victoria – until late May or Early June. This year, however, the line has cancelled its Asia route and is already scheduled its ship, the Celebrity Millennium, to appear in Victoria as of April 23.

“Due to the coronavirus that organization is choosing to leave early,” said Ian Robertson, CEO of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA), adding that preparing the ship for a new part of the world isn’t novel, even in light of illness. “From an industry perspective having this kind of breakout, like Norwalk virus, isn’t new. They have a lot of experience in how to clean the ship.”

ALSO READ: More cruise ships, passengers anticipated in Victoria in 2020

The additional four calls from Celebrity Cruises to Victoria are likely to welcome between 12,000-15,000 extra passengers to the shore, a jump to an already anticipated record-breaking year for cruise line passengers.

Destination Greater Victoria is also anticipating a strong year for tourism numbers, with CEO Paul Nursey saying that visitors from Asia make up less than six per cent of visitors, with Chinese visitors only making up three per cent.

“Our bread and butter is regional visitors,” Nursey said.

The majority of tourists come from other parts of B.C., closely followed by Washington state, Alberta, Ontario and California.

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Nursey added that in cases of breakouts in the past, such as SARS, the tourism industry typically bounces back quickly – within six to eight months.

This year, however, Destination Greater Victoria is expecting a high visitor rate due to some record numbers.

“We already have a record conference year and record sports year already contracted, so we think any business impact will be modest,” he said.

Large sports events this year include the Pan Am Cross Country Cup, set to take place at Bear Mountain on Feb. 29 and the FIBA Olympic qualifying basketball tournament from June 23-28.

The extra cruise ship passengers will also help bolster tourist numbers, Nursey said.

“We can’t be naive to say there’s no impact, but we’re seeing some positive impacts too.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook, send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

CoronavirusCruise Ships

Just Posted

Victoria cannabis compassion club raided for a second time

The Cannabis Buyers Club has been operating on Johnson Street since 2001

Missing ‘Where is my Dad?’ sign returned in Port Alberni

Good Samaritan finds Lisa Petterson’s stolen sign, returns it to Merville woman

Victoria police investigating chop-shop found in Beacon Hill Park

Police asking public to register bikes with them in case lost or stolen

Loss of UVic dog park deals a blow to socially anxious pets

Owners of non-socialized dogs seek safe space following closure of Cedar Hill Corner

Sidney’s iconic Star Cinema looks to reel in audience with reopening

The big screen is up again in temporary location as work continues on new digs

Recent surge in COVID-19 cases not unexpected amid Phase Three of reopening: B.C.’s top doc

Keep circles small, wear masks and be aware of symptoms, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

COVID-19 gives B.C. First Nation rare chance to examine tourism’s impact on grizzly bears

With 40 infrared cameras deployed in Kitasoo-Xai’Xais territory, research will help develop tourism plan with least impact on bears

NDP wants Lower Mainland MLA removed from BC Liberal caucus for alleged homophobia

BC Liberal leader, some MLAs apologize for Christian magazine ads but Laurie Throness doubles down

B.C. health officials pleased with likely extension of Canada-U.S. border closure

Health Minister Adrian Dix says the situation is ‘very serious in the United States’

Children suffer swollen eyes, burns while playing at Lower Mainland spray park

Mission RCMP are investigating incident that injured several children

W0rk underway to fix polluted pond near Victoria Airports

Residents around Sidney’s Reay Creek Pond welcome federal remediation efforts

Vancouver Island volleyball star added to Olds College roster

Courtenay high school star Gracie Walls recruited to play in Alberta.

Pacific Opera takes music to south Island streets

Artists travel around Capital Region District this summer for live performences

Victoria seeks court order to enforce sheltering rules in Beacon Hill Park

People being asked to move out of environmentally sensitive areas of park

Most Read