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

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

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
OUR VIEW: We expect integrity from leaders

Is it too much to ask that conflict related to the city’s business be met on the battleground of fact?

Hardeep Singh Sahota, the director of Royal Academy of Bhangra in Surrey, says there’s lots of confusion around the temporary closure of dance studios. He’s pictured in the empty studio, which shows spaced out dance areas, on Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
‘Temporary’ closure causing confusion for Surrey dance studio

Bhangra academy director says studios need more guidance from healh authorities

Despite rumours, Surrey RCMP say they are not issuing tickets to people if they are driving in a vehicle with others from a different household. (File photo)
Rumours of vehicle-occupant address checks untrue, say Surrey RCMP

COVID-19 enforcement about education, says Cpl. Joanie Sidhu

FILE PHOTO - Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum speaks at a press conference about the provincial government approving the city’s municipal police transition plan Thursday (Aug. 22, 2019). He is joined by councillors (from left) Mandeep Nagra, Allison Patton and Doug Elford. (File photo: Lauren Collins)
LETTER: Surrey’s budget is despicable

Reader says Safe Surrey is going to bankrupt residents

(Photo: Amy Reid)
VIDEO: 2020 Community Leader Awards recognize Surrey’s unsung heroes

They don’t often receive recognition and don’t necessarily have a high profile in the community

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

Chilliwack school board trustee Barry Neufeld is taking heat over using a ableist slur to refer to three Black Press employees. (Paul Henderson/ Progress file)
BC School Trustees Association president keeps heat on Chilliwack Trustee Barry Neufeld

In a news release, Stephanie Higginson called on voters to take careful note of Neufeld’s behaviour

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

School District 27 announced the first confirmed case of COVID-19 this week (Nov. 23) at Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Entire gym class at northern B.C. high school isolating after confirmed COVID case

Contact tracing by Interior Health led to the quarantine

Arthur Topham has been sentenced to one month of house arrest and three years of probation after breaching the terms of his probation. Topham was convicted of promoting hate against Jewish people in 2015. (Photo submitted)
Quesnel man convicted for anti-Semitic website sentenced to house arrest for probation breach

Arthur Topham was convicted of breaching probation following his 2017 sentence for promoting hatred

Langley School District's board office. (Langley Advance Times files)
‘Sick Out’ aims to pressure B.C. schools over masks, class sizes

Parents from Langley and Surrey are worried about COVID safety in classrooms

Most Read