Farmers hit as Australia's cruise losses pass $5 billion
Australian farmers and food suppliers are among thousands of local businesses hit by the ongoing suspension of cruise operations, with losses to the Australian economy now surpassing $5 billion over the past year.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has highlighted the devastating impact the suspension is having on local producers who supply cruise ships, releasing a new video as part of its #WeAreCruise series.
The video features national wholesaler Select Fresh Providores, one of Australia’s key suppliers of fresh fruit and vegetables to cruise lines. In it, the company’s Group General Manager Steven Biviano explains the huge effect the suspension has had, not only on his own business but also on farmers and regional communities.
“It has really affected the broader community, which people aren’t aware of,” Mr Biviano says. “The smaller communities are the ones that have been affected the most – the regional people are the ones that rely on this type of income through the season.”
Mr Biviano says in peak season up to 50% of his company’s business was generated by cruising, and that farmers and other producers need time to plan crops for cruising’s return.
“Getting ready is the most important thing – it’s not a thing that can just be turned on,” he says.
CLIA Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz said cruise lines had committed to extensive new health measures to support future operations, and that it was now vital that governments agreed on a pathway towards a phased and carefully controlled resumption of local cruising.
“Cruising is ordinarily worth more than $5 billion a year to the Australian economy and supports more than 18,000 jobs, many of which are now at risk,” Mr Katz said. “The health protocols cruise lines have developed in response to COVID-19 are among the most stringent in the world and are already operating successfully in several other countries. “The health protocols cruise lines have developed in response to COVID-19 are among the most stringent in the world and are already operating successfully in several other countries. Now is the time for the Federal Government and states to finalise a timeline for a carefully managed, phased resumption so businesses like Select Fresh can plan their recovery.”
The Select Fresh video is one of several released by CLIA on social media as part of a campaign that aims to raise awareness and tell the personal stories of people within the Australasian cruise community. The video can be viewed on Facebook and YouTube.