Vancouver expecting to see record-breaking number of cruise ship passengers
For the first time this cruise ship season, four vessels were docked at Canada Place Sunday, bringing an influx of passengers to the downtown core.
"It's been so busy," said Ella Store, an employee of tour company V2V Vacations, which brings visitors from Vancouver to Victoria.
"The more people you bring into your waterfront, the more local businesses thrive and the more the city thrives."
For many passengers, their first stop is Vancouver's historic Gastown.
Riley Morton, of Jade Vancouver, said there is a noticeable difference in foot traffic with the increased number of docked cruise ships.
"It's busier than a typical Sunday," he said. "It's super exciting. A lot more business and it keeps us busy."
It isn't just tourists who are spending their money, but the cruise lines, too.
Tourism Vancouver CEO Ty Speer said the ships would refuel and restock supplies, such as food and drinks.
"They're little cities, so they need to make sure there are plenty of supplies," he explained. "[The passengers] are spending time on accommodation, on attractions, on retail, on restaurants and other services. So we really do two different hits to the economy when we have cruise ships in town."
Typically, two cruises are berthed at the port and during the peak of summer, up to three cruises are docked. A day that sees four ships is only scheduled to happen three other times this season, according to the Port of Vancouver's schedule.
The port authority estimates $3 million are injected into the local economy each time a ship stops by Canada Place.
This year, a record-breaking number of passengers, roughly 1,077,000, are expected to visit Vancouver. This is a 20 per cent increase over last year.
"It's the first time in well over a decade that we've seen that kind of volume," Speer said.
A decade ago, Seattle entered the market and became a competitor along the route to and from Alaska, which has brought fewer passengers to Vancouver. Now, that's starting to change.
"In the last five to six years, we've seen a real swing back,” Speer said. “We've seen a lot of cruise lines look at Vancouver very favourably and our numbers have been growing.”
To deal with the growth and congestion, Speer said they've been working with other tourism partners, the Vancouver police and taxi companies.
Officers were seen near Canada Place directing pedestrian and vehicle traffic to ensure smooth sailing.
"It's really now running like a well-oiled machine and we're able to take these big weekends because the system is really, really working well," Speer said.
The other four-ship days are July 13, August 10 and September 30.