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Vancouver's 2023 cruise season saw a record 1.25 million passengers

Tally for passengers was up 54 per cent compared with last year
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Holland America Line's Koningsdam ship was in port this morning as the last ship in port this season

Vancouver's cruise season this year was the busiest ever, with a record 1.25 million passengers, according to Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) data.

The previous record for cruise passengers in a year was 1.1 million, set in 2019, according to the VFPA.

The season included 15 of Canada Place's 20 busiest-ever days for cruise passengers. There were 332 cruise ship calls between April and October 2023, which was a new record for the Canada Place cruise terminal and one more than the VFPA had anticipated in April. That number of ship calls was an increase of 9 per cent compared with 307 visits in 2022, according to the VFPA.

The VFPA had been expecting the busiest-ever season. It projected in April that there could be between 1.2 million and 1.3 million passengers based on the expected number of ship calls. The big question was how full the cruise ships would be, and it appears that the ships were about as full as predicted.

The Vancouver cruise industry was halted in 2020 and 2021. It then bounced back solidly in 2022

"Indications based on preliminary bookings are that the 2024 cruise season will see a similar number of cruise ship visits, demonstrating the underlying strength and popularity of the cruise industry in Vancouver and its unique access to B.C.'s prestigious Inside Passage," said Peter Xotta, vice president of operations and supply chain at the VFPA.

The port authority's figures show that Vancouver's cruise industry injects an average of almost $3 million into the local economy for each ship that visits Canada Place, generates nearly 7,000 jobs across Canada, $300 million in wages and contributes $840 million to national GDP.

Cruise Lines International Association - North West & Canada (CLIA) spokesman Barry Penner told BIV earlier this year that B.C.'s cruise sector is responsible for 17,000 jobs and $2.7 billion to the provincial gross domestic product. 

gkorstrom@biv.com

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