DESPITE comments from Premier John Horgan that he has bigger issues to deal with, a U.S. congressman is once again proposing legislative changes that would allow cruise ships to bypass B.C. ports on their way to Alaska, threatening billions of dollars in revenue and thousands of tourism jobs across the province.
“John Horgan has been dismissive of the very real threat this legislation poses to B.C.’s port and tourism economy since we first raised it with him back in the spring, calling it a blip,” said Opposition Tourism Critic Teresa Wat, MLA for Richmond North Centre. “Once again we are seeing U.S. politicians tabling legislation that could devastate our cruise ship industry and John Horgan still doesn’t seem to care.”
The cruise ship industry brings an estimated $2.5 billion to British Columbia’s economy every year. 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.
“The people whose families and livelihoods are counting on a successful return of the industry need the Premier to get serious about this issue,” said Todd Stone, Opposition Critic for Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “Taking cheap political shots like he did last time didn’t work then and it won’t work this time. John Horgan needs to work with the Americans to solve this problem so that our people and communities who depend on the cruise ship industry don’t have to watch their livelihoods sail past their ports next season.”