Tourism companies like Black Ball Ferry and Clipper Vacations are already seeing dips in numbers amidst the Coronavirus scares. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Victoria’s Coho, Clipper see cancellations linked to COVID-19

Federal government insists Canada is a ‘spectacular and safe’ place for tourists to visit

Portions of Victoria’s tourism industry are already feeling the impact of COVID-19, also known as coronavirus, especially since Washington state has become an epicentre of infections with 10 deaths linked to the disease as of Wednesday morning.

For the Coho ferry, which travels between Port Angeles and Victoria, there has been an increase in cancellations.

“We get maybe a handful a day,” said Ryan Burles, president of Black Ball Ferry line which operates the Coho ferry. “I definitely see the logic behind it; if it’s time to travel and you’re older and it’s not business, why risk it?”

Still, Burles added, Coho staff are taking extra time to sanitize the vessel between sailings.

The Victoria Clipper, which travels between Seattle and Victoria once a day (increasing to twice per day in May), has also seen a hit.

“We saw a pretty swift turn as Washington got identified with the first U.S. death, and we’re watching closely with the Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organization and keeping in close contact with the U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. and Canada border services,” said Scott Meis, vice president of marketing with the Clipper.

“We’re looking at cancellations coming in; so far it’s not too aggressive – only about 15 or so attributing it to the coronavirus specifically– but we’ve seen a softness in sales.”

ALSO READ: Extra precautions against COVID-19 put in place as tourism season arrives

The Clipper now has extra sanitation stations at terminals and on board, as well as signage with warnings about the coronavirus. Staff are wearing gloves and doing extra sanitation sweeps of galleys, floors, rails and major touch points, as well as offering masks to any passengers who appear to have respiratory symptoms.

“What we’re seeing so far is that customers have been appreciative of the extra steps,” Meis said.

ALSO READ: Extra precautions against COVID-19 put in place as tourism season arrives

Still, the federal government is insistent that the tourism industry will not be greatly impacted.

“My message to people around the world and to Canadians is Canada is spectacular and safe, so it’s a great time to discover a country,” said Mélanie Joly, minister of economic development and offical languages.

When asked what steps the federal government might take should a major outbreak happen, Joly was vague.

“We will be taking our calls from the public health officials, because that’s the most important thing: the fact that Canadians should be safe and healthy is paramount.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

CoronavirusTourism Victoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Foreign Languages, said the Federal Government is still welcoming tourists amidst coronavirus scares. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)

Just Posted

Victoria police investigating chop-shop found in Beacon Hill Park

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

Island Health issues Victoria overdose advisory

Health authority warns of increase in overdoses from opioids and stimulants

West Shore RCMP responds after reports of man masturbating on bus

52-year-old man charged with committing an indecent act in a public place

Central Saanich council spills plans for alcohol in public parks

Local expert Adam Sherk praises decision, warns of liberalization

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

B.C. NDP changing WorkSafeBC regulations to respond to COVID-19

Employers say reclassifying coronavirus could be ‘ruinous’

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 13

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Statistical flaws led to B.C. wolf cull which didn’t save endangered caribou as estimated

Study finds statistical flaws in an influential 2019 report supporting a wolf cull

Windows broken, racist graffiti left on Okanagan home

Family says nothing like this has happened since they moved to Summerland in 1980s

Beloved Island woman dies at 106

Dorothy Adair adored by the many people she met in Chemainus in two short years

Man arrested for allegedly pushing unsuspecting seniors, jumping on cars at Parksville mall

Cops arrest man after ‘aggressive incident’ at Wembley Mall in Parksville

B.C. man who went by ‘Doctor Ray Gaglardi’ charged with sex assault of teenage boys

The man, 75, is accused of assaulting teenage boys he met through Coquitlam-area churches

B.C.’s potential deficit $12.5 billion as spending spikes, taxes drop

Finance Minister Carole James gives COVID-19 outlook

Most Read