Cancellation of 2020 Season : Sept-Iles Port of Call Adjusts Its Sails
SEPT-ILES, June 1, 2020 - After suffering a loss of six calls for 5,910 passengers and crews due to the speed restrictions in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, COVID-19 pandemic now causes cancellation of the 4 remaining large vessel calls on the 2020 calendar, resulting in another loss of 12 128 passengers and crews from Cunard, P&O Cruises and Phoenix Reisen.
In terms of direct and indirect expenses made by passengers and cruise lines, the economic losses for the port of call are estimated at $1.9 million. Nearly 200 direct and indirect jobs are affected locally by the absence of international vessels in Sept-Îles this fall. Among them, the director of the Côte-Nord Regional Museum, Ms. Johane Bergeron, points out that cruise passengers represent nearly two thirds of the annual admissions to the Regional Museum and the Old Trading Post:
“International cruises represent an appreciable source of annual income for the Côte-Nord Regional Museum and the Old Trading Post: over 2/3 of the entry fees last year. Consequently, the cancellation of the four ships this year results in a significant loss of income. Other government programs launched since the beginning of the pandemic, such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, compensate a portion of the losses, which allows us to keep our heads above water. "
Destination Sept-Îles Nakauinanu (DSIN) executive director Marie-Eve Duguay wants to take advantage of this mandatory break to get the development projects moving faster. Among the development projects of DSIN, the permanent cruise pavilion will certainly be the most important:
"This was the most anticipated scenario and we believe that public health must take precedence. International cruises extend our tourist season and put people to work until October. It is a huge loss for all of our tourist attractions, transportation suppliers and seasonal hospitality workers. Although the consequences are major for the entire local cruise services chain, we welcome this decision relatively positively and will take advantage of it to accelerate DSIN projects. We will gain new momentum and come back stronger and even more united in 2021. "
Over the next months, the three North Shore ports of call have more than ever the intention of collaborating in the joint promotion of the region to cruise lines and prepare the relaunch of the industry. Regional international cruise ports of call contribute to Quebec's GDP up to $60 million annually. They expect governments to compensate the ports and tourist attractions affected by the measure to help them to get through this crisis and allow them to be up and ready for 2021.