The Rocky Mountaineer will not be rolling along B.C. railways this year.
The luxury rail-tour company, known for its three scenic rail routes traversing B.C. and Alberta, announced Wednesday it is officially suspending operations until the end of its planned 2020 travel season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That includes all scheduled departures until Oct. 11, 2020.
Steve Sammut, Rocky Mountaineer's president and chief executive officer, said in a release that the company is "incredibly disappointed" to announce the cancellation of the remainder of its 2020 tours.
"Like so many in the tourism and hospitality industry, the pandemic has had an overwhelmingly negative impact on our business,” he continued.
“Despite the challenging environment, we remained hopeful we would be able to operate our trains at some point this season. However, given the continuing government travel and health restrictions, we have no choice but to postpone our rail tours until the scheduled start of our 2021 season.”
The tour company first announced on March 17 that its 2020 season, originally scheduled to begin April 13, would be delayed through the end of that month due to COVID-19 concerns. Departures were then suspended three more times before Rocky Mountaineer's July 22 announcement.
According to the company, the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent government restrictions imposed in response are considered "a force majeure event, beyond the control of Rocky Mountaineer." To that end, the tour operator is allowing guests to rebook their travel at "a later date, once the force majeure event has passed."
Guests who were scheduled to travel on a now-suspended departure will receive a future travel credit for 110 per cent of what they've already paid, valid through to the end of the company's 2022 travel season. Rocky Mountaineer is also committing to keeping its rail prices in line with 2020 pricing for both its 2021 and 2022 seasons.
“We know this has been an exceptionally challenging time for our guests, partners and team members, and we thank them for their patience and continued support,” said Sammut in the release.
“In the coming months, we will work with our guests and travel partners to rebook their travels from this year, and then shift our focus to our 2021 season. When we do operate our trains, the health and safety of our guests and team members will be at the forefront, while still continuing to provide the superb service for which we are known.”