'Just devastating': Canada-U.S. marine border remains closed to Victoria tourism ferries
After 17 months of being shut to non-essential travel, Canada has reopened its borders to allow fully vaccinated American tourists to come for a vacation. But don’t expect a flood of American tourists to descend on Vancouver Island right away.
Victoria’s airport isn't one of the nine in Canada allowed to have international flights arrive. And although the border opened Monday, the opening doesn’t include ferries — meaning the Coho and Clipper are left out.
The news was described as disheartening by David Gudgel, the CEO of the Clipper, the ferry that brings people back and forth from Seattle and Victoria.
“Dismayed is one of the things I’m feeling,” said Gudgel on Monday. “Not to provide any sort of pathway forward as to when we might expect an opening is just devastating.”
The idea of allowing planes full of Americans to arrive in Canada at airports like Vancouver’s, but not a boatload of vacationers to Vancouver Island, is unfair says Paul Nursey with Destination Greater Victoria.
“We feel we should all be treated the same as the rest of Canada,” said Nursey, expressing frustration on Monday over the discrepancy.
Also frustrating for the ferry operators and local tourism industry is that Canada Border Services Agency officials aren't able to say why exactly the borders aren’t open to international ferries.
Jackie Tse, a spokesperson with the CBSA, said Monday that the issue of the marine border is being monitored closely, and there could be multiple reasons why it’s not open.
“[We’re] constantly reviewing it and informing our stakeholders in the industry, should those changes come about,” said Tse.
Meanwhile, the Americans have not opened their land border to Canadians yet. The earliest that could happen is Aug. 21.