Path to cruise resumption needed as losses approach $5 billion

Australia’s cruise industry will continue to advocate strongly for a phased and controlled return to domestic cruising following the Federal Government’s decision to continue its year-long biosecurity ban.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said $5 billion had been lost to the Australian economy over the past 12 months since the industry stopped operations in March last year.

The cruise industry, which has been amongst the hardest hit in the travel sector, supports more than 18,000 full time equivalent jobs across a range of sectors including thousands of Australian travel agents, farmers, entertainers, tour operators, ports, and marine and logistics services.

CLIA Managing Director Joel Katz said the industry had been working with the Federal Government on a framework for the resumption of cruising for more than six months.

“Australia has done a remarkable job in managing COVID-19, and we respect the Government’s decision to extend the Biosecurity Determination affecting the border and international travel,” Mr Katz said.

“However, we believe there is a pathway for the phased and tightly controlled return of domestic cruising for the benefit of those regional communities and industries that rely on a healthy cruise sector.

“We have been working closely with the Federal Government for more than six months now on a high-level framework for the re-start of domestic operations.

“We are naturally disappointed that the Government has extended the ban without finalising a pathway for the return of cruising given the work that has taken place over many months, but we remain committed to working with agencies at a federal and state level."

Mr Katz said cruise lines globally had committed to extensive new health protocols including 100% testing of all passengers and crew before boarding, forming some of the most extensive COVID-19 measures of any industry worldwide.

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