May 20 will see a huge number of cruise ship passengers arrive in downtown Vancouver — enough that the Port of Vancouver believes it could be record-setting.
The Emerald Princess, Star Princess, and Nieuw Amsterdam ships will pull into port between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., bringing an estimated 15,800 passengers, according to Tourism Vancouver, creating a bit of logistical chaos for the port and supporting businesses.
While it means more customers for nearby cabs, restaurants and shops, the Fraser Port Authority is working with Tourism Vancouver to brace downtown for their arrival.
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Ty Speer, president of Tourism Vancouver, said the operational challenge is the biggest hurdle the city will have to manage.
"It takes a team, I think that's probably the best way to put it, of course lead by the port and the cruise lines but with lots of people playing a part," Speer said.
Tourism Vancouver expects another six or seven cruise ships to come into the port with around the same volume of passengers over the course of the summer.
"As we build through the season one of the good things is we build and learn… and the operation continues to grow and get smooth as we go through, but it's a big piece of work," Speer told The Early Edition host Rick Cluff.
Of the predicted 10.5 million people to come through Vancouver during this peak season for tourism, Speer said 840,000 of those will be stepping off a cruise ship.
"This is really what our industry prepares for and wants and it's why we promote Vancouver."
With a weekend of good weather approaching, Speer encourages tourists and locals to get outside to enjoy Vancouver at its best.
"What's wonderful about the way this city embraces tourism is there's a great blend of what our visitors do and what our citizens do," he said.
"It's not an us and them, it's all of us together, and I think that says a lot about how we welcome people."