British Columbia

Hankering for an anchoring: Victoria seeks home port status for cruise ships

“It’s a great opportunity not only from the room nights from a tourism perspective but also for the spinoffs it would generate for the local economy," mayor says.

Cruise ships already make calls in Victoria, but home port status could bring added economic benefits

Victoria's Ogden Point cruise ship terminal. Mayor Lisa Helps says home port status would help the city get more value from the cruise ship industry. (Greater Victoria Harbour Authority/Facebook)

The City of Victoria and the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority are pitching B.C.'s capital city as a home port for smaller cruise ships.

While cruise ships already make regular stops in Victoria, if the city were to become a home port, it would become the port where those cruises begin and end.

Mayor Lisa Helps says that could bring along with it spending from passengers on hotels, restaurants and more, and bring the local economic benefit of cruises from $40,000 per ship to up to $2 million per ship.

"Not only that, but the ships would be provisioned, as much as possible, locally," Helps told All Points West host Robyn Burns. "Imagine our great local beer, great local coffee, great local food … going out to ships and out to sea.

"So it's a great opportunity not only from the room nights from a tourism perspective but also for the spinoffs it would generate for the local economy."

Helps says Ogden Point, where the ships dock, would need minimal upgrades to take on home port duties.

The real need, she says, is getting customs pre-clearance for passengers in Victoria.

"It's certainly on the federal government's agenda," she said.

Helps says the goal is to make Victoria a home port by 2020.

With files from CBC Radio One's All Points West