Tourism industry feeling impact of ferry schedule reduction

Chantelle MacIsaac
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The announcement by Marine Atlantic of not having a summer schedule this year affects many different levels, and the tourism industry is just one.

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With no summer schedule in place, travelers with reservations previously booked were told the difference in the new schedule would be no more than 6 hours for most, but it has become apparent that the difference to some travelers has become days.

Lynn Sawford owns RoseSea Guesthouse, a bed and breakfast in Rose Blanche.

She has already felt the effects of the change in scheduling by Marine Atlantic and predicts to see more loss to her business because of it.

Sawford said she had a reservation for four rooms for five days, but because of the difference made to the people's reservations, they had decided to not visit with her.

"I can't say for sure what happened with their reservation, but they mentioned only having so much vacation time," said Sawford.

She also said there was another booking she had that was cancelled due to timing issues as well.

The booking included a stay at her bed and breakfast, and then travel across the island, but with the change in reservations, the travelers opted to not stay in Rose Blanche and to head across the island.

Sawford is now looking at Marine Atlantic as being not good corporate citizens, and said the company's last minute decision to not have a summer schedule is going to affect a lot of businesses on the southwest coast.

The bottom line for her is a drop in customers in a very short period of time.

"I have invested in the tourism industry, and rely on it," said Sawford.

Codroy Valley Cottage Country owner Claudelle Devoe agrees with Sawford, and said her business felt the effects immediately.

"The very next day we received two cancellations and our customers were very furious that they had to cancel and change all their travel plans without any notice," she said.

She said that travelers are more used to weather related delays, and although they understand those delays, they still show up very tired and hungry late in the evening.

Devoe does not understand how Marine Atlantic expects to accommodate passengers within a 6-hour period, and said the change does not provide a traveler with any flexibility.

"They will simply decide to either cancel their trip or book a flight," said Devoe. "That means we can expect to see a lot less visitors in our area."

She said her fear is that Marine Atlantic's decision will affect all businesses on the southwest coast.

"It is not acceptable by our residents. The ferry service is our only ground transportation route to the mainland," said Devoe.

Back in Rose Blanche, Sawford said the situation of being an island requires everyone to row together.

"Right now it seems as though they are only rowing with one oar, and into their pockets," she said.

 

Organizations: Marine Atlantic

Geographic location: Rose Blanche, Rose Blanche.She

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