Travel Support Package a Step Forward but Broader Focus on Tourism Needed
The Federal Government’s travel stimulus measures are a step forward, but Australia’s cruise industry is calling for a broader focus on the tourism economy including tangible progress on the restart of cruising to act as an impetus for hard hit businesses and regional destinations that rely on the sector.
Cruise Lines International Association Australasia (CLIA) Managing Director Joel Katz said the Government should approve a pathway to the careful resumption of domestic cruising to assist the many farmers, food producers, winemakers, tour operators, transport companies, port workers and other service providers who supply the cruise industry but would see no benefit from the existing travel support package.
These groups along with regional destinations had been severely impacted by the cessation of cruise tourism but could see their livelihoods resuscitated through CLIA’s carefully laid-out plans for a phased resumption of local cruising while international borders remain closed.
Mr Katz stressed that the cruise industry was not seeking financial assistance from the Government. It merely sought the opportunity to resume business safely and for the benefit of the wider tourism economy.
“The cruise industry supports more than 18,000 jobs across Australia, all of which are at risk while the cruise suspension continues. Around $5 billion has already been lost to the Australian economy over the past year since the cruise industry stopped operating and the losses continue to mount,” Mr Katz said.
“While the package announced this week may assist some of the thousands of Australian cruise specialist travel agents impacted by government restrictions after the end of JobKeeper, it provides only short-term relief while little progress is made towards the resumption of cruising.
“The cruise industry has committed to extensive new health protocols in response to COVID-19 and has outlined detailed plans that would allow a carefully controlled resumption of domestic cruises for Australian locals.
“It is vital that governments now finalise these plans so that travel agents and other cruise suppliers can have greater certainty to work towards a longer-term revival.”