MV Coho has carried passengers and vehicles from Washington state to B.C. since 1959. (Black Ball Ferry Line)

Hope for ‘Cascadia’ tourism amid COVID-19 border restrictions

Washington, Yukon, Alaska reopening, B.C. hotels set to restart

As some of B.C.’s landmark hotels prepare to reopen in June, the first tentative signs of a renewal of tourism have begun to emerge, with a focus on domestic travel within the province and its West Coast neighbours.

The longest-running symbol of the economic region now called “Cascadia” is the Black Ball Ferry Line’s MV Coho, which has linked Washington and B.C. since 1959. With the Empress Hotel preparing for a late June reopening along with the Grand Pacific next to the B.C. legislature, the Coho and the passenger-only Victoria Clipper from Seattle have hopes for a resumption of service in July, depending on easing of restrictions at the Canada-U.S. border.

MV Coho, which carries vehicles and passengers between Victoria and Port Angeles, has a schedule to resume sailings in July, with a note on its website: “Our July sailings are in pending status until we learn when the border will re-open for non-essential travel and it is considered safe for people to begin traveling again.”

Washington emerged as an early hotspot for COVID-19, prompting B.C. Premier John Horgan to press the federal government for stronger border measures to force 14-day isolation for returning Canadians and others entering B.C.

With new daily cases down from a spike in late March to below 150 as of mid-May, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has announced a phased resumption of business similar to that of B.C.

Alaska, a long-time summer cruise destination for B.C. and West Coast states, has so few COVID-19 cases that Gov. Mike Dunleavy has jumped his restart plan ahead to full business resumption effective today (May 22).

Yukon Premier Sandy Silver’s restart plan is also proceeding, without fixed dates but a similar approach as B.C.

JUNEAU EMPIRE: Alaska accelerates its COVID-19 reopening plan

YUKON NEWS: Businesses to submit reopening plans by end of May

VICTORIA NEWS: West Coast Traveller connects Alberta, Alaska, B.C.

Destination B.C., the province’s lead tourism agency, has turned its focus from international to domestic promotion with the release of B.C.’s staged reopening plan.

“Now that we have some certainty about how the re-start will unfold, Destination B.C. is approaching our marketing recovery in phases that align with the province’s restart plan, with near-term plans to support tourism and hospitality businesses, and strengthen British Columbians’ desire for future travel in B.C. – something that will have a tremendous impact on the long-term wellbeing of our industry,” Destination B.C. CEO Marsha Walden said in a message to industry.

Black Press Media has launched its own B.C. tourism promotion, West Coast Traveller, in line with Destination B.C.’s approach.

Horgan’s often-repeated message to B.C. residents to stay close to home was reinforced this week by restrictions on camping reservations to in-province customers as parks get set to reopen campgrounds.

With some provinces attempting to bar interprovincial travel, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has maintained that the province does not have authority to stop people from Alberta or other parts of Canada from visiting. Henry and Horgan have relied on public appeals to people to keep their recreation close to home.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

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

Just Posted

Lavender hand sanitizer sale raises cash for Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation

Golf course and lavender farm partner up to support health care in the Fraser Valley

Man wanted for ramming police car and almost hitting bystanders in Abbotsford

Police say Lorne Guilbault ‘engages in high-risk criminal driving behaviour’

Wings and Wheels fundraiser ready to roll in Abbotsford this weekend

Unique collection of cars invading Tradex for drive-thru experiences on Saturday and Sunday

‘Unusual smell in water’ not a health concern, says City of Abbotsford

Odour is just temporary due to treatment-plant maintenance, city says

‘Agitated’ man pulls out knife on 3 people in Abbotsford

Witnesses sought for incident on Monday night near city hall

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

BCSPCA partners with Crime Stoppers

Many call in to the SPCA, but want to remain anonymous: Eccles

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

Most Read