Nearly 16,000 cruise ship passengers expected in Vancouver on Saturday

Three ships will pull into port between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Tourism and transportation industries will be booming as three cruise ships dock over the long weekend

About eight per cent of the tourists coming into Vancouver this season will be arriving on cruise ships, the first big boom arrives May 20 with 16,000 passengers disembarking. (Jacy Schindel/CBC)

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.

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. 

Three ships are expected to dock over the course of the day. (Globe and Mail)

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.

Ty Speer, president of Tourism Vancouver, spoke with The Early Editon host Rick Cluff to let listeners know what to expect with the influx of tourists over the May long weekend. (CBC)

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."

With files from the CBC's The Early Edition