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

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

Photo of handguns and illicit drugs Trail RCMP reported to have seized from a Trail man on Sunday. Photo: Trail RCMP
Drugs and guns seized from Trail man

A call came into the detachment that a man was asleep behind the wheel

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Rain clouds were absent for most of April in the West Kootenay. Photo: Betsy Kline
April precipitation only one-third of normal in West Kootenay

Third month in a row with below average rain fall

The Trail RCMP is sharing a warning that originated with the Nova Scotia RCMP regarding an online sexual exploitation scam targeting youth. Photo: Mohammad Metri on Unsplash
Trail RCMP warn of digital sexploitation scheme targeting youth

Police want to get the message out to victims that you are not alone.

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham promotes the government’s BuyBC food program in 2019. (B.C. government)
Money running out for fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in B.C. schools

‘Looking at ways to support this type of program,’ minister says

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Experts now predict 33.6% rise in B.C. home sales for 2021

BCREA economists also predict home prices to increase by 14.3%

Most Read