Canada’s cruise sector laments disruptive ArriveCAN process, effects on tourism – BC News

Canada’s cruise sector laments disruptive ArriveCAN process, effects on tourism – BC News

Add Canada’s cruise ship industry to the list of stakeholders who were irked by the Ottawa-mandated ArriveCAN application for travelers entering Canada.

Cruise industry representatives say the current regulations are particularly burdensome for their sector, given that currently each person boarding a cruise that leaves – and then returns to – Canada is required to file a specific ArriveCAN for this trip before boarding their ships.

Given that many cruise passengers enter ports like Vancouver from another country, and that most Alaska-bound cruises eventually include a return to the Lower Mainland, this means that most passengers must submit two separate ArriveCAN applications within days of each other to board a cruise here.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Canada legal counsel Barry Penner – a former British Columbia MLA and cabinet minister – noted that there is serious concern in the industry that if the process is not simplified, it could deter passengers from passing through Vancouver for its curise routes.

“We hope that changes will be made in the last few months of this cruise season,” Penner said. “We’ll see what happens. But beyond that, cruise lines and their passengers are looking for a signal from the Canadian government that next season will be as close to normal as possible – to improve the ability to market cruises to and from Canada.

“Families planning to take a cruise have options of where to go,” he added. “And the more additional hurdles you have to overcome to get to Canada, the more tempting other destinations are.”

The cruise industry is a major driver of Vancouver’s summer economy, with CLIA data showing about 200,000 passengers boarding cruises from Vancouver per month before the pandemic. That number dropped to 108,762 for Vancouver this May, but the mere fact that cruises have returned to the city is a big boon for local tourism sectors.

Canada was also one of the last markets to reopen for cruises after the 2020 pandemic outbreak initially hit cruise ships hard. However, Penner said the sector has pioneered a number of safety measures that are now standard across many public service sectors, and operations have returned as early as mid-2020 in some markets before Canada finally reopens. its ports again last November.

Even before the pandemic, Vancouver faced increasing competition from Seattle as a port of origin for Alaska routes. But Penner said even Seattle cruises will subject passengers to ArriveCAN if the ship’s itinerary includes stopovers in Canadian ports.

He added that he spoke at a conference in Calgary in late July attended by federal Tourism Minister Randy Boissonneau, and Penner believes the loud and clear messages sent by the event industry were “heard loud and clear.” as the minister has committed to taking the message to Ottawa.

“We were originally told that [changes] it won’t be done this season,” Penner said of CLIA’s initial contact with the federal government. “But as the issues continue to arise, we’re now hearing that they may try to do it sooner.”

“It just creates a negative experience before boarding the ship for people to have to fumble with an app — especially when some of the passengers may not be as comfortable working online or with mobile handheld devices.”

In recent weeks, issues with ArriveCAN have become an increasingly talked-about topic as Canadians increasingly travel abroad — with Global News Ottawa bureau chief Mercedes Stevenson detailing her struggles with the process as she and her mother were directed to quarantine upon return, even when both are fully vaccinated.

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