The extension of Australia’s cruise ship ban has dealt another devastating blow to the ~18,000 Australian workers whose livelihoods depend on cruises, CLIA-Cruise Lines International Association said.
According to CLIA Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz, Australia had become the world's only major cruise market without an agreed plan to restart cruising, which is ordinarily worth over US$5 billion per year to the economy of Australia.
“The suspension of cruising has been devastating for the 18,000 Australians who depend on cruise tourism, including travel agents, tour operators, food and produce providers, entertainers, port workers and many other industry suppliers.
“In other countries close to five million people have already sailed successfully under the cruise industry’s extensive new health protocols. We need federal and state governments to use the coming weeks for genuine discussions with the cruise industry so we can plan a similar revival in Australia.”
Mr. Katz added the extension of Australia’s cruise ship ban was "a further disappointment for thousands of cruise fans who faced uncertainty around their future holiday plans."
“Cruising has changed enormously in response to the pandemic and the work our industry has done with medical experts internationally has resulted in health protocols that are successful in mitigating the risks of Covid-19.
“With vaccination rates increasing and borders opening, we need agreement on the way forward throughout Australia so there can be a careful revival of cruise tourism in communities around the country.”
The new health measures of the cruise industry go beyond those of any other tourism area and include vaccination and testing requirements for guests and crew before boarding, as well as protocols covering crew quarantine, sanitation, ventilation, distancing, health monitoring, response procedures.
According to Mr. Katz, it would take several months of preparations before cruising could restart in Australian waters.