Cruise ship stakeholders, tourism minister to discuss cancellation

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P.E.I.’s tourism minister says communication will be key, as he prepares to discuss the impact of recent cruise ship cancellations.

‘There’s so many unanswered questions.’
– Minister Heath MacDonald

On Friday, Heath MacDonald will meet with various industry stakeholders in Charlottetown to talk about the eight cruise ship stops cancelled for the city due to endangered North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

“I think we have to realize there’s many obstacles here, but if we don’t communicate people tend to go in different directions,” MacDonald said.

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A right whale necropsy being conducted by Pierre-Yves Daoust, of Charlottetown’s Atlantic Veterinary College, in June this year. (Nicolas Steinbach/Radio-Canada)

“So I think communication’s going to be key going forward.”

The 10 ship cancellations followed an order from Ottawa for a temporary 10-knot speed limit in the western part of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

That order came into effect after right whales were found dead in the Gulf this year. Collisions with large ships travelling at high speeds are believed to be a factor in some cases.


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“Everybody’s on their heels right now trying to figure out why. What’s the science going forward? How to rectify, if we can, this situation. Are they ever going to come back? How long are they going to stay?” said MacDonald.

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Heath MacDonald says there are 97,000 cruise ship visitors expected to visit P.E.I. this year. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

“I mean there’s so many unanswered questions.”

Despite the cancellations, cruise ship visits are up this year, according to MacDonald. About 97,000 cruise ship passengers will visit the Island this year, he said, up from 66,000 last year.


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