The measure pushed by members of the Republican congressional delegation from Alaska will allow large cruise ships to sail directly from Washington state to Alaska without stopping in Canada. This is a temporary solution to a long-standing federal law that requires certain large cruise ships to Alaska to stop in Canada or start trips there.
Canada, amid COVID-19 concerns, has banned cruises until February.
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Global News reached out to the Canadian Ministry of Economic Development and the British Columbia Ministry of Tourism for comment, but did not immediately receive a response on Monday holiday.
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US Senator Lisa Murkowski said Alaska has a limited opportunity to travel by cruise, unlike sunny places such as Florida. Before the pandemic, the season in Alaska started in late spring and stretched into summer or sometimes early fall.
She said cruise lines now have the ability to book trips to bring people to Alaska and “help us with our economy which has been really hit hard by COVID.” Tourism is a big industry in the state, especially for many communities in Southeast Alaska that rely heavily on cruise ship passengers.
Passage of the bill underscores the importance of not giving up, Murkowski said in comments alongside Senator Dan Sullivan and U.S. Representative Don Young, other members of the state’s congressional delegation, in Washington. , DC, Monday.
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Cruise lines should always adhere to guidelines set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to guard against COVID-19.
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Earlier Monday, Norwegian Cruise Line announced plans to resume U.S. operations from August 7, with trips from Seattle to ports in Alaska. The company has scheduled crossings until mid-October.
Cruise lines such as Holland America Line have also announced sailing plans.
Many of the large ships that visit Alaska are registered in foreign countries. US law prohibits these ships from sailing between two US ports without stopping in a foreign port.
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Ian Robertson, CEO of the Greater Victoria Port Authority, said last week he tried to alert Canadian and UK politicians to the ramifications of the bill when it passed the House of Representatives on Thursday American, sending it to Biden’s office to become law.
“I have to admit it’s frustrating, we’ve been sounding the alarm bells for a few months,” Robertson told The Canadian Press on Friday.
Given the estimated $ 2.7 billion economic impact of the B.C. coast cruise industry, Robertson said this was a dangerous precedent to set before exploring. other options.
The port authority wants the federal government to allow “technical calls”, which would allow ships to maintain routine calls without allowing passengers and crew to leave the ship.
Requests for comment sent to both the Greater Victoria Port Authority and the Port of Vancouver were not immediately returned on Monday.
Associated Press reporter Darlene Superville contributed from Washington, DC
–With files from Global News and The Canadian Press
New US rules could allow start of Alaska cruise season