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

Sgt. Darryl Peppler said Mounties are continuing their investigation after Tuesday’s raid. File photo
Grand Forks RCMP arrest suspected drug traffickers at city motel

Police say they netted “a sizable amount” of money and suspected drugs following Tuesday’s arrests.

Midway RCMP’s Cpl. Phil Peters spoke at Greenwood’s city council meeting Monday, Nov. 23. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Police investigating burglary ‘ring’ with ties to Greenwood and Okanagan

Midway RCMP are looking at “persons of interest” in two Greenwood heists

The 29-year-old man pleaded guilty to one count of dangerous driving at Grand Forks Provincial Court Tuesday, Nov. 17. File photo
Grand Forks man gets 3-months curfew for role in Highway 3 chase

Guilty man thanked Judge Robert Brown, said he is committed to recovering from addiction

Two men got into a fight over a Grand Forks’ flower display last summer. One of the men resolved an assault charge by entering into a peace bond at Provincial Court Tuesday, Nov. 17. File photo
Grand Forks man takes peace bond after flower fisticuffs

Harsh words over a downtown flower display led to violent confrontation, said Crown attorney

A man wears a mask while walking down Canyon Street in Creston on Nov. 13. Photo: Aaron Hemens
Creston resident living with COVID-19 reflects on experience

Contracting and living with the virus, she said, has led to a “major reset” in her life

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

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

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Barrels pictured outside Oliver winery, Quinta Ferreira, in May. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
B.C. Master of Wine reflects on industry’s teetering economic state

Pandemic, for some wine makers, has been a blessing in disguise. For others, not so much.

Most Read