Australia and New Zealand left isolated as Canada joins cruise revival

Australasia has been left isolated as the only major cruise region in the world not making progress towards revival after the Canadian Government last night announced it had brought forward the end of its cruise suspension to November 1, 2021.

Canada’s plans to revive cruise tourism place it alongside other destinations including the US, UK, Europe and parts of Asia where cruising has already resumed under stringent new health protocols and testing regimes.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz said Canada’s announcement highlighted the lack of progress in Australia and New Zealand and called for a similar detailed plan for cruising’s revival locally.

“Like Australasia, Canada has taken a very conservative and risk-averse approach to cruising, but they’ve worked hard with industry to develop a detailed pathway towards resumption and economic recovery,” Mr Katz said. “By contrast, governments in Australia and New Zealand have made no progress towards establishing a framework for future cruise operations, despite the availability of comprehensive new health protocols at the international level.”

Mr Katz said the suspension of cruising had already cost the local region more than $6 billion since early 2020 and had put an estimated 25,000 jobs at risk, including travel agents, tour operators, farmers and food suppliers, transport workers, entertainers, and technical support providers.

“Around 600,000 people have already sailed successfully in countries where cruising has resumed, bringing back economic opportunities for local communities while also maintaining the most stringent health measures to be found anywhere in tourism,” Mr Katz said.

With these measures in place - including 100% testing of all passengers and crew before boarding – CLIA has called for Australian and New Zealand governments to agree upon detailed plans for a careful domestic cruising revival. This would initially begin within local bubbles, involving domestic-only cruises for local residents only.

“As Canada has recognised, it will take months of careful planning to revive cruise tourism,” Mr Katz said. “We need governments to progress urgent discussions now on how we can achieve similar success when the time is right in Australasia and restore economic opportunities for communities across the region.”

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