B.C.’s tourism industry braces for hit amid mounting COVID-19 fears

British Columbia is bracing for a potential serious blow to one of its most important industries, as concerns about COVID-19 continue to ramp up.

Federal Tourism Minister Melanie Joly is in Vancouver and Victoria this week to meet with the industry as well as Vancouver’s mayor to discuss the effect the outbreak could have.

“We know the tourism sector will be impacted, but meanwhile we will take measures as appropriate to help mitigate the impact,” Joly said.

She said the country was particularly worried about a drop in Chinese international tourists, and said while there was no firm data yet, anecdotal evidence suggests the impact is already being felt.

“Right now at Vancouver International Airport, the duty free is seeing a 50-per cent decrease in terms of its revenues,” she said.

The cruise industry could also take a beating in the wake of major COVID-19 incidents aboard the Diamond Princess and now new concerns about another cruise ship, the Grand Princess, being held off the coast of California.

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