GVHA announces draft schedule for the 2023 cruise season

Victoria, BC, Canada – The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) has released the 2023 draft cruise schedule. Subject to further changes in the months ahead, GVHA anticipates 330 ship calls at the Victoria Cruise Terminal over the seven-month season between April and October. Based on feedback from regional and national port partners, GVHA estimates 850,000 cruise passengers.

The positive impact of cruise tourism extends beyond an initial visit to Victoria. In the Desire to Return Survey, 53 percent of those surveyed indicated they would return to Victoria in the next five years. Twenty-three percent said they would stay 3-4 nights. Seventy-three percent indicated they would stay 1-4 days in other parts of Vancouver Island.

Seventy-eight percent of those surveyed had not previously visited Victoria, while eight percent had visited Victoria in the past five years.

Many locally owned and operated small businesses, often run by individuals or families, are impacted by cruise tourism. The top five activities cruise passengers participated in during the 2022 season were souvenir shopping, dining, visiting Fisherman’s Wharf, guided tours and bus tours.

“Cruise passengers are an important component of our tourism economy and play a major role in supporting our small and medium sized businesses in downtown. From gelato and coffee shops to pubs and our amazing retail options, the money spent by cruise passengers support hundreds of jobs in our downtown core.” –Jeff Bray, Chief Executive Officer at the Downtown Victoria Business Association.

While cruise numbers remain strong, GVHA is committed to the long-term sustainability of cruise in Greater Victoria. 

“GVHA is focused on sustainable growth that benefits the region. We understand that, along with many economic benefits to the community, cruise also presents some challenges. We want to make sure we address those challenges,” said Ian Robertson, CEO of Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. “Shore power is top priority, and we continue to work with the federal government to get that funding piece in place. It’s a modest investment to realize huge potential and impact, and time to finalize the funding and move this ahead.”

Eighty-five percent of CLIA-member cruise ships coming online between now and 2028 will be able to plug into shoreside electricity, allowing engines to switch off at berth for significant emissions reduction. And ninety-eight percent of new build capacity on the order book (between now and 2028) is committed to being fitted with shoreside electricity systems or will be configured to add shoreside power in the future.

“As cruise tourism continues, so does our commitment to sustainability and the environment,” said Christine Willow, board chair of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. “GVHA recently hired a sustainability manager who will evaluate and guide our sustainability efforts.”

GVHA participates in the Green Corridor program, aimed at exploring the feasibility of accelerating the deployment of zero greenhouse gas emission ships and operations between Alaska, British Columbia and Washington. The Green Corridor program is a priority for the sustainability manager.

The draft 2023 cruise season schedule is available at gvha.ca


About the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is a community-based, not-for-profit organization committed to the stewardship and sustainable growth of Victoria’s dynamic working harbour. The organization is governed by a 13-member Board of Directors, represented by four independent community members and eight Member Agencies: Esquimalt Nation, Songhees Nation, Capital Regional District, City of Victoria, Township of Esquimalt, The Chamber, Victoria Esquimalt Harbour Society and Destination Greater Victoria.

The organization owns and operates several high-profile community amenities including, the Ogden Point Breakwater, Inner Harbour lower causeway, Ship Point and customs dock at Raymur Point. Within its commercial and marine industrial holdings are the deep-water port at the Breakwater District at Ogden Point, Fisherman’s Wharf and four Inner Harbour marinas. The organization manages the Victoria Cruise Terminal at The Breakwater District, which contributes more than $143 million annually to the Greater Victoria economy and is responsible for 800 direct jobs.

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is certified as a Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business’ Progressive Aboriginal Relations Silver Member, a reflection of its ongoing commitment to a guiding principle of First Nations Relationships.

Media Contact:

Stella F. Garcia | Manager, Communications & Engagement

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority

sgarcia@gvha.ca | 250.920.9057