After facing a devastating season that saw no cruise ships call on ports in Alaska and BC (British Columbia) as a result of the global Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, port cities on the itineraries that rely on travel industry say that having ships return in 2021 is crucial for their survival.
Borough mayor for the Alaskan cruise port of Skagway Andrew Cremata remarked on the current situation faced by the town, and numerous other ports of call in Southeast Alaska, during a panel discussion at the virtual Seatrade conference on October 7.
Cremata said that the cruise industry made up as much as 95% of the overall revenue of the port town.
"It is essential for our small businesses that they are able to engage the cruise ship companies and the cruise ship passengers in a normal way. These local businesses are going to go 17 months in a best-case scenario without any revenue. April, May of 2021 represents the chance to right the ship."
Alaska's cruise industry has been plagued with severe economic effects and massive job losses as a result of both the U.S. CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) "no-sail" order; and Transport Canada's ban on cruise operations within Canadian waters. The orders are in effect through October 31.
Throughout the discussion, Vancouver's Xotta and Skagway's Cremata expressed a desire to take the winter to fully prepare for the resumption of the 2021 Alaska cruise season.