ASTORIA, Ore. (KPTV) - For the second year in a row, cruise ships will not dock in the Port of Astoria because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to this, the area is seeing a major economic impact and businesses in the area are dealing with a loss of revenue. The Port of Astoria said it was expecting 37 ships to dock in 2020 but those were cancelled because of the pandemic.
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For 2021, there were 29 ships scheduled but because of the Delta variant and surging cases, those have also been cancelled.
“If you had talked to me a few months ago in May or June we were fairly confident at that point that by the end of 2021 we would be getting cruise vessels in here,” Will Isom, the Executive Director of Port of Astoria, said. Isom said the impact is being felt across the region.
“In a given year the direct revenue to the port is in the ballpark of a million to a million-five but that’s just a small piece of the economic benefit as those folks coming to town are also visiting many of the businesses and tourist destinations that we have in the region,” Isom said.
At Hurricane Ron’s in Astoria, co-owner Ron Neva said since last year they’ve taken about a $40,000 hit from this because they sell fish to the cruise ships.
“When they buy from the bigger box stores the bigger companies, but when the bigger companies don’t deliver because of COVID, they’ll come to us and we’ll fill their order here with salmon or tuna or whatever,” Neva said.
However, despite that loss, he said they’ve managed to keep business going strong.
“So many people are closed so the ones that chose to be open pretty much killed it,” he said. Neva said in his 22 years in business, 2020 was the first year cruise ships didn’t dock in Astoria. He said he’s hopeful they’ll return next year.
“Last year I thought it was a good idea, this year I’m not so sure, I think things are opening up and I’m not a fear mongerer, I think if you’re really afraid, don’t go out and if you’re willing to take a chance and go on a cruise ship, go for it,” Neva said.
The port is expecting 37 vessels for 2022.