No cruise ships visit Hokkaido ports, corona pandemic impact, 147 cancellations this year

Due to the novel corona virus pandemic, the decision was made to cancel all cruise ship port visits in Hokkaido for this year. According to port sources and marine vessel companies, 147 total port visits at 14 ports were planned for April through October, but were canceled. Hokkaido ports are all proceeding with outreach to promote visits from next year onward, but unpredictable prospects are damaging local tourism promotion.
The largest number of Hokkaido port visits originally planned was 50 visits at Hakodate. Following that, in diminishing order, was 35 visits at Otaru, 15 visits each at Kushiro (Kushiro City) and Kutsugata (Rishiri Town in the Soya region), 10 visits at Muroran, and 6 visits at Wakkanai.
Most of the cruise ships have canceled their cruising operations completely due to the corona virus pandemic. Some foreign ships have canceled visits to Japan and switched to cruising in areas around their own countries. This is most likely due to a worsening public image surrounding cruise ships over the “Diamond Princess” incident in which 700 crew members and passengers were infected with the virus.
Cruise ships bring massive amounts of tourists ashore all at once, leading to large influxes of money from purchases around the port area with a reportedly high ripple effect in the local economy. Some Hokkaido ports have received temporary reservations for next year, but improvement in curtailing the spread of coronavirus on a global scale is still uncertain, and currently it is unknown if ships will be able to operate.

Luxury liner “AsukaⅡ” docking at Hakodate Port in August of last year

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