Dixon hopes the government will follow through on the Committee’s request to lift the cruise ban, effective January 1, 2022.
” The time has come “
“The Canadian government, Transport Canada and Public Health have been responsible for the health and well-being of Canadians, and they are now listening to our message. And the time has come. I expect a very definitive and positive announcement very soon, before the end of July, ”Dixon told Seatrade Cruise News.
This underscored the message he gave at the American Association of Port Authorities Virtual Cruise Seminar last week.
Dixon said the goal of the ACPA Cruise Committee is the safe resumption of cruises in Canada. The group is “solution-based” and has been “very, very active” in areas such as developing COVID-19 security protocols for ports and tour operators, which it presented to the government in late April.
“Let’s reopen the cruise for 2022. Let’s make a statement and tell the industry we’re ready. Let’s let people know they can plan for 2022, ”he urged.
Even though there is usually no cruise in Canadian waters until April, Dixon said it would be very helpful to announce a reopening in 2022 now – instead of waiting for the ban to expire. February 2022.
He explained, “We know the cruise will restart. We need to make sure the Canadian government understands how critical it is to give advance notice, not only for operational reasons and ship deployment, but also for business development … People book cruises a year in advance, a year and a half in advance, and more. ‘
The ACPA cruise committee made two requests to the Department of Transportation.
Request to increase the cap to 500 souls
Along with an announcement regarding cruises starting Jan. 1, he asked that as of Oct. 31 of this year, the current capacity cap – which allows the operations of cruise ships carrying 100 souls or less (passengers and crew members) ‘crew) – be revised to 500. This would allow a few very small ships – 200 passengers, 140 crew – to resume navigation in Canadian waters, possibly the St. Lawrence, before the end of 2021.
“If it’s so small and can be controlled, is there any harm in allowing this in December, which would give everyone the chance to test the protocols?” Dixon reasoned. In addition, in December, 200 international passengers on a ship will be a drop in the bucket compared to other international travelers arriving by road and plane.
Canada has been described as taking a “conservative” approach to the pandemic, particularly compared to neighboring United States. And he’s been criticized for the one-year cruise ban.
But Dixon defended his government’s position.
“I am very pleased with the statistical results resulting from taking this conservative approach with respect to the health and well-being of Canadians and the survival rate,” he said. And there would have been no point in pushing for an earlier opening of cruises when a province like New Brunswick did not allow residents of neighboring Prince Edward Island to enter, let alone. international travelers.
Unlike the United States with their conditional navigation order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Canada has not distinguished between cruises and other forms of travel.
“Our international border is not open. We’ve just reopened most of our maritime “bubble” in Canada and we’re just looking to open so that Canadians can visit the provinces, ”Dixon said. “We’re definitely not ready for 3,500 passenger ships in Saint John in August. We are still working on getting our second shots.
Threat of extension or modification of waiver of PVSA
With the United States’ temporary exemption from the Passenger Ship Services Act to allow foreign-flagged cruise ships to sail in Alaska without calling at a foreign port while the Canada cruise ban is in effect , some US voices have suggested that the waiver be extended while invoices are also being introduced to permanently remove PVSA.
“We know we have a great product. We know we are a place people want to visit. Cruise lines are definitely going to come to Canada regardless of the Passenger Ship Services Act, ”Dixon replied. “That said, there could be an impact that would not be positive for the cruise industry in Canada if there were any changes. It is a concern.
But he noted that the problem that caused the PVSA waiver disappears when Canada opens its doors to cruise in 2022, “so there should be no reason to focus on anything other than resuming cruise.” .
If Transport Canada announces the release of the order for 2022 soon, Dixon expects a “fairly robust” season, although it is not possible to reach 2019 levels after two years of absence. It is also unclear whether the ships will operate with capacity limits.
Transition years 2022-23
He believes that 2022 and 2023 will be years of transition to the previous number of passengers, and 2024 “the realistic return to full power”.
Transport Canada has neither published its cruise regulations nor, to date, prescribed details like those of the US CDC. Dixon therefore cannot say what will be needed, but he doubts there is a need for “bubble” shore excursions next summer.
Dixon, Senior Vice President of Commerce and Business Development from Port Saint John, New Brunswick, led the formation of the APAC Cruise Committee in the summer of 2020 so that Canada’s cruise ports could talk with one voice at Transport Canada. Previously, discussions focused on the West Coast and the East Coast.
All Canadian cruise ports
Dixon firmly believed that the committee should represent all Canadian cruise ports in all regions – Atlantic Canada, the St. Lawrence, the Great Lakes and the West Coast.
This is what happened, with some 30 cruise ports in Canada as members, as well as people like René Trépanier, General Manager of Cruise the Saint Lawrence, and Sarah Rumley, General Manager of Atlantic Canada Cruise. Association, which represent groups of ports.
In addition to Dixon as President, there are three Vice-Presidents, each from a different region: Nancy Houley of the Quebec Port Authority, Mike Riehl of the Port of Toronto and Mandy Chan of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.
Sub-committees worked on COVID-19 protocols for ports and shore excursions; communication and business development; and government and industry relations. Plenary committee meetings are held every two weeks in addition to the regular subcommittee and executive committee meetings.
“No doubt we have come together,” Dixon said. “Everyone sees the advantage. Everyone speaks with one voice, has debates and discussions. ‘
Beyond the pandemic, other cruise issues that deserve the Committee’s national advocacy could be shore power and LNG, to name a few.