Just a little more than three kilometers north of Vancouver’s JW Marriott is one of the powerhouses of not just tourism in Vancouver, but in Canada as a whole.
The Port of Vancouver, one of the busiest ports in North America, is located from Roberts Bank and the Fraser River up to the Burrard Inlet. It is one of Canada’s most important shipping hubs, supporting trade with more than 170 countries around the world, and in recent years has become one of the busiest ocean cruise ports in the world.
“We are expecting another strong year in 2018 with nearly 900,000 passengers on 241 calls to Canada Place at the Port of Vancouver,” Port of Vancouver spokesperson Danielle Jang told Travel Market Report.
The Port saw 826,820 passenger arrivals in 2016 and accounted for the highest volume of passenger visits in all of British Columbia, 60 percent of all cruise arrivals.
Fourteen cruise lines are scheduled to call at Canada Place in 2018, including: Holland America, Princess Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, and more. Some notable ships that will call at Vancouver 2018 include: the renovated Star Princess, Seabourn Sojourn, Disney Wonder, Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam, and Norwegian Bliss.
“On average, each cruise ship visit contributes about $3 million to the local economy as passengers enjoy additional vacation time in Vancouver, Victoria and surrounding areas,” Jang said.
Driving the increase in interest to the Port, aside from a booming Alaskan cruise market, are the infrastructure improvements that have been made, and some planned, by the port over the past few years.
Those improvements include new camels and fendering systems; upgrades to all gangways that are planned to be completed within the next two years; and an increased passenger embarkation space in Vancouver’s Convention Centre.
“We work with our cruise line customers and industry associations to anticipate, plan for and accommodate future demand for various ship sizes that will visit Vancouver,” Jang said.
There is also an enhanced wayfinding and signage program; an expanded passenger processing and baggage laydown area; and a reconfigured ground transportation area to improve car and pedestrian traffic.
In addition to the infrastructure improvements, the fact that the Port is located near the center of the city also seems to be driving demand. Guests taking sailings in or out of Port of Vancouver will also find themselves close to a number of Vancouver attractions the second they step off the ship — the Capilano Suspension Bridge, Stanley Park, Grouse Mountain, FlyOver Canada at Canada Place, and the Naval Museum at HMCS Discovery are all just a short trip away.
And it’s not just cruise passengers and travel agents who are benefiting from the uptick. In 2016 alone, the Port provided over 12,000 total jobs to the city, $840 million in gross domestic product for Canada, and $549 million in total wages for workers.