Horgan missing in action as B.C. risks permanently losing its cruise ship industry, say BC Liberals

BC Liberal Critic for Tourism, Arts, and Culture Teresa Wat is calling on Premier John Horgan and the NDP to defend B.C.’s tourism industry and ensure the U.S. cruise ship industry won’t permanently bypass B.C. ports when the borders reopen in 2022.

“Legislation is being introduced in the U.S. that will allow cruise ships to skip Canadian ports on their way to and from Alaska,” said Wat on Tuesday. “We know ships won’t be sailing until spring 2022, but there is no guarantee that the U.S. would reverse this law once borders open up again. If John Horgan continues to remain silent on the issue, we risk permanently losing hundreds of millions of dollars in cruise ship tourism revenue, plus the hundreds of B.C. businesses who rely on cruise ship traffic.”

Every cruise ship that arrives in Vancouver brings an estimated $3 million in direct activity to the local economy. Victoria lost an estimated $130 million in tourism revenue in the 2020 season, while the entire B.C. tourism industry lost $16.4 billion of an annual $20 billion in GDP. It is estimated that the industry supports 20,000 direct and indirect jobs.

“Alaska is taking direct action to protect and preserve its tourism industry — at our province’s expense — and yet John Horgan, who was warned about the issue in a February 12, 2021 letter from Alaskan Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan,  hasn’t spoken up on the issue,” added Wat. “Our tourism industry has been one of the hardest-hit and least supported industries through the pandemic, thanks to this government’s inaction. John Horgan should be reaching out and engaging with Senators Murkowski and Sullivan to ensure Vancouver, Victoria and Prince Rupert remain future cruise destinations and so that our tourism sector isn’t permanently devastated.”