Vancouver hospitality industry gets long-awaited, long weekend boost

A full slate of cruise ships docked in the Vancouver Harbor this May long weekend, giving a much-needed boost to the hospitality industry.

A total of seven ships came through, with each one bringing in an estimated $3.17 million, according to the Port of Vancouver.

Passengers filled up local tourist attractions that had been seen an underwhelming start to the season.

“May has been super slow especially because it’s been so rainy,” Lucy Caldwell of Prince of Whales Whale Watching told CTV News.

“With the sunny weather we’ve had four tours a day going on, it’s pretty busy, full tours, we have lots of tourists I think from the UK,” Caldwell said.

After an unseasonably wet and cold beginning to the spring, the sunny weather also helped fill up restaurant patios with both locals and tourists.

“I’d say it’s been a normal May long weekend, which is something I haven’t been able to say for a couple years,” said Steamworks’ president of operations, Carl McCreath.

McCreath says business has been slowly ramping up since the beginning of April.

“The flow of people, the energy of people, the flow in the room, it’s been a lot like it used to be,” he said.

However, McCreath says while sales have returned to normal levels, there’s still a staffing crunch to contend with.

“There’s definitely been some times where we’ve been stretched a bit with the sales versus how much staff we have on. We’re climbing out of it but there’s been some challenging shifts for sure,” he said.

McCreath added that job postings only yield about 20 per cent of the responses they used to but he remains confident they’ll make it through the summer.

“We’re pretty optimistic that this summer’s going to be an excellent summer — for us, for downtown, for tourism, for Vancouver. We expect it to be a very good summer.”

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