As ferry service stalls, local tourism businesses try to keep it in perspective

·2 min read
Jason Delio, co-owner of the Cliffside Inn, says some people have cancelled their bookings in the past few days. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC - image credit)
Jason Delio, co-owner of the Cliffside Inn, says some people have cancelled their bookings in the past few days. (Sheehan Desjardins/CBC - image credit)

Changes to the ferry service between P.E.I. and Nova Scotia are creating challenges for the tourism industry in eastern P.E.I.

COVID-19 brought restrictions about who could come to P.E.I., and limited capacity on the ferries.

And then, just as things seemed to be returning to normal, the MV Holiday Island caught fire on Friday and is now out of commission for the season.

"That was a most unfortunate event," Jill Harris, administrator for the Wood Islands and Area Development Corporation, said on Monday.

"I would say today it has been a little bit quieter but people are still coming and that is a good sign."

All ferry crossings between Nova Scotia and P.E.I. have been cancelled since Friday and are not expected to resume until at least Wednesday, with only the MV Confederation in operation.

Bookings have been solid all season at the nearby Cliffside Inn, but owners say some have started to fall through.

"We have had some cancellations due to the ferries contacting people and telling them that their future reservations were cancelled," said Jason Delio.

It's a similar situation at Galla Designs, a store selling hand-made Island crafts and food products, right on the highway near the ferry terminal.

Sheehan Desjardins/CBC
Sheehan Desjardins/CBC

"When it's going, it's busy," said owner Trish Carter.

"In the wintertime, we could probably go out and play a game of hockey on the Trans-Canada and we could probably get a game of hockey in at the moment now."

The business owners hope the remaining ferry, the MV Confederation, can add a few extra crossings to its schedule.

But they say some things are more important than their bottom line.

"Everybody got off safely — shout out to everybody, very happy to hear that," Carter said.

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