Cruise ships contributed $2 billion-plus to B.C. economy in 2016: report

The economic impact of the cruise-ship industry in British Columbia contributed more than $2 billion to the provincial economy last year, according to a study by the cruise industry.

The impact in Canada topped $3.2 billion overall, with about two thirds of that in B.C. alone, according to the study prepared by Business Research & Economic Advisors for the Cruise Lines International Association, the St. Lawrence Cruise Association, Atlantic Canada Cruise Association and Cruise B.C.

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The report noted cruise-related spending in Canada increased by 34 per cent between 2012 and 2016.

“These numbers are further proof that the cruise industry is increasingly important to our economy, not just in B.C., but across Canada as well,” Ian Robertson, CEO of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority said in a statement. Victoria’s is Canada’s busiest port of call for cruise ships. “They provide a solid foundation for the future, as a key economic driver for Victoria, southern Vancouver Island and the province.”

The report measured the economic impact of spending by cruise lines in Canadian ports, on-shore spending by passengers and crew, and commissions paid to travel agents across the country. It said the cruise industry generated more than 23,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada, an increase of

31 per cent since 2012.

B.C. continued to be the biggest beneficiary of direct cruise-industry spending, accounting for 66 per cent of the national total. Cruise lines produced $982 million in direct spending and $1.22 billion in indirect economic impact. Quebec was the next biggest beneficiary at 15 per cent of the market, followed by Atlantic Canada at seven per cent. Other provinces and territories benefited as well, as recipients of spending on ship provisions and equipment, tourism, advertising and agent commissions.

The Canadian cruise sector said the nine per cent increase in passenger visits between 2012 and 2016 will be eclipsed by a projected 13 per cent single-year growth forecast for 2017, ensuring further gains in cruise industry spending in the coming year.

“The study confirms the international cruise industry is a major contributor to the Canadian economy, with ships generating millions of passenger visits and billions in spending every year,” said Greg Wirtz, president of CLIA North West & Canada. “As cruising expands globally and passengers show more and more interest in Canada as a destination, Canada’s ports and tourism operators will need to keep pace to ensure Canada can realize the growth opportunity this industry presents.”

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