Greater Victoria Harbour's (BC Canada) 2023 cruise season ends with record number of tourists

   October 30, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

The 2023 cruise season in Greater Victoria Harbour concluded on Sunday, October 29, having accommodated 326 ships and hosted approximately 970,000 cruise visitors from April to October.

Although there were three fewer ships visiting Victoria in 2023 compared to the previous year, the total number of cruise visitors increased by 26%, primarily due to higher ship occupancy rates.

As in 2022, Victoria achieved a significant cruise milestone during this season. The honor of welcoming the ten millionth cruise visitor(s) was shared by two couples: one from the UK traveling with their teenage daughter and a local Victoria couple experiencing their first cruise. City of Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto, Destination Greater Victoria Board Chair Darlene Hollstein, and Robert Lewis-Manning, CEO of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, extended their warm welcome.

This season also saw the inaugural calls of four ships: Carnival Luminosa, L’Austral, Oceania Insignia, and Scenic Eclipse I. Each ship was greeted with the traditional plaque exchange ceremony to mark the occasion.

Celebrity Solstice completed its final voyage to Victoria this summer after yearly visits since 2013, contributing significantly to the local tourism industry. In 2024, Celebrity Solstice will be succeeded by a newer ship - the 2018-built Celebrity Edge, making her maiden voyage to Victoria BC.

According to the 2019 Economic Impact Study, cruise visitors in Victoria spend an average of $86 per visit. This includes approximately $23.7 million on tours and local transportation, $14.6 million on retail goods, and $6.7 million on food and beverages. Furthermore, crew members who disembarked also contribute by spending an average of $117 each, adding a total of $11.4 million to the local economy. The cruise lines' expenditures further bolster the region, totaling $84 million, encompassing services like transportation, warehousing, port fees, ship agents, and stevedores.

The cruise industry directly employs 807 full-time and part-time workers, with a total wage income of $40.4 million. When considering business and income taxes, the cumulative economic impact of the cruise industry in Victoria results in $11.2 million in governmental tax revenue.

In April 2023, the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure committed $9 million toward the development of shore power infrastructure. This funding will be allocated for schematic designs and the BC Hydro Interconnection Study, further emphasizing the commitment to sustainability within the industry.

It's worth noting that a significant portion of Cruise Line Industry Alliance members, amounting to 85%, have already implemented shore power capabilities, demonstrating a collective dedication to environmental responsibility.