Cruise industry calls for end to inaction and a clear plan for the future

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has expressed concern at the lack of progress on a cruise resumption in Australia and today called on the Federal Government to take real steps towards establishing a plan for future cruise operations.

CLIA Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz said the extension of Australia’s cruise suspension today was not unexpected, but warned the government’s lack of a plan for the future was causing lasting damage to the economy and putting 18,000 Australian jobs in doubt.

“After months of discussions with government, the suspension has been extended again without any clear route from government towards a careful and responsible resumption of cruising,” Mr Katz said. “The cruise industry has done an enormous amount of work to implement extensive new health protocols globally, but Australia is now the only major cruise destination in the world where there is no progress towards their adoption.”

“The cruise industry is not asking for special treatment or to simply reopen the doors to cruising,” Mr Katz said. “We’ve presented some of the most stringent COVID-19 measures to be found anywhere in tourism, developed with the support of medical experts, and we need governments to take the next steps forward.”

The suspension of cruising is estimated to have cost the Australian economy up to $6 billion since March 2020 and threatens thousands of local businesses including travel agents, tour operators, farmers and food suppliers, transport providers and technical support providers.

“Our industry’s new health measures are already in place and working successfully in other countries where cruising has resumed,” Mr Katz said. “It’s now time to break the cycle of inaction in Australia and finalise the pathway forward.”

Cruise lines globally have committed to extensive new measures in response to COVID-19, including 100% testing of all guests and crew before boarding and strict protocols covering crew quarantine, social distancing, sanitation, health monitoring and response procedures. CLIA and its cruise line members are advocating for a phased and carefully controlled resumption of domestic cruising in Australia, beginning with local cruises for local passengers while international borders remain closed.

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