JOEL Katz, Managing Director CLIA Australasia

Break the cycle of inaction

Around the world, close to 600,000 people have now sailed aboard cruises that operate under the strict new health protocols our industry has created in response to Covid-19.

Country by country, these measures are being carefully implemented in close collaboration with health authorities, allowing travellers to return to sea while at the same time maintaining health and safety as the top priority.

Hundreds of cruises have sailed since operations first resumed last year, and the list of locations is growing all the time. Places like Taiwan and Singapore were early pioneers, followed by several major EU countries, the United Kingdom, parts of the Caribbean and now the United States.

Frustratingly, no global cruise lines have sailed in Australia and we are now the only major cruise market in the world where governments have made no progress towards a resumption of cruising when health conditions allow.

Despite an enormous amount of lobbying by our industry over many months and significant achievements overseas, the Australian Government recently extended its cruise suspension without any firm plan for moving forward. The extension itself was not unexpected, but the lack of a clear framework for the future is deeply concerning.

CLIA’s Ready, Set, Sail campaign has generated more than 40,000 emails to Australian MPs so far, voicing support for cruising from thousands of travel agents, tourism operators, cruise line suppliers and the travelling public. There can no longer be any doubt about the size of Australia’s cruise community and the number of local businesses that have been devastated by the ongoing suspension.

Cruising is worth more than $5 billion a year to the Australian economy and supports more than 18,000 jobs. We need to break the cycle of inaction in Australia and join the rest of the world in progressing responsible plans for cruising’s revival.

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