JOEL Katz, Managing Director CLIA Australasia
States are now key to cruising’s revival
AS AUSTRALIA moves closer to reopening international borders, attention is now turning to the states and the role they will play in achieving a careful resumption of cruising in local waters.
Over recent weeks we’ve heard increasing levels of public support for cruising at the political level, including from the new Premier of NSW Dominic Perrottet who has confirmed discussions about a cruise revival are underway.
CLIA’s own discussions with governments at the state and federal levels are increasingly positive and show a clear will to make progress.
But after a long focus on the Federal Government and its long-standing cruise suspension, it’s important to remember action is also needed from the states before ships can return.
As the Federal ban on cruise ships ends, state and territory governments will need to agree on detailed operational plans with cruise lines before ships can visit our ports.
Each jurisdiction and their respective health authorities will need to confirm detailed Covid-safe plans and determine exactly how our industry’s new health protocols are applied.
Dominic Perrottet has already signalled that NSW may be a leader in progressing cruise plans, and this is an encouraging sign for Australia’s biggest cruise market and the country’s most important cruise gateway in Sydney.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has also spoken positively about an initial resumption on a small scale within Queensland waters.
But not all states have shown support or responded to our calls for detailed discussions, leaving our industry facing continuing uncertainty.
The new health protocols cruise lines have adopted internationally are the most stringent to be found anywhere in tourism and are already working in dozens of countries where cruising has resumed.
Now is the time for the states to take action so we can ensure Australia is ready when it comes to welcoming ships back here.