GVHA statement on Transport Canada decision regarding cruise ships in Canada
May 29, 2020
We support the decision by Transport Canada to suspend cruise for 2020. We look forward to the return of cruise under enhanced health and safety measures during the 2021 season. Health and safety for the community are the top concern for our organization.
We anticipated the suspension of cruise would likely be extended beyond July 1, and proactively forecasted for the loss of revenue in March. This forecasting led us to temporarily lay off 50% of our staff, reduce expenses by close to half, determine deferrals for major capital projects, and increase our focus on additional business development opportunities at the terminal.
Cruise represents 70% of our annual revenues, which supports our operations across all properties, including community amenities such as the Ogden Point Breakwater, Inner Harbour Lower Causeway, Ship Point, and Fisherman’s Wharf. Without cruise revenues in 2020, we will need to explore how we maintain these facilities for community use over the next several years. This will include further deferring capital projects and reducing maintenance and repairs, while not compromising safety.
Beyond our not-for-profit organization, cruise supports 800 indirect and direct jobs in Victoria and contributes more than $130 million to the regional economy each year. We also want to acknowledge that dozens of cruise-related small businesses and their staff members in Greater Victoria are deeply impacted by the loss of cruise this year.
We appreciate the level of support received from tourism and business operators in Victoria, all of whom have been impacted by COVID-19. We are all in this together and we remain committed to working with all cruise partners for the safe return of cruise to Victoria in the future.
This season, we had planned for 300 cruise ship calls and 770,000 passengers between April and October.