JOEL Katz, Managing Director CLIA Australasia

Industry turns to the future

The past few months have undoubtedly been some of the most challenging our industry has faced, and the demands upon the cruise community have been intense. It’s clear we will all be working in difficult circumstances in the days ahead, but the cruise sector is already turning its attention to the future and uniting with the wider travel industry as it does so.

The suspension of cruise operations both within our region and across the globe presented enormous logistical challenges and caused great disruption to travellers. We’re conscious of the impact this had on the travel agent community, and cruise lines are grateful for the support and dedication agents have shown towards their customers.

The logistical demands in bringing ships back to port were huge, and the cruise lines achieved an incredible task in returning dozens of ships and tens of thousands of passengers to Australian shores. Despite the inconvenience this caused, it’s a sign of the lengths cruise lines go to in their efforts to keep the focus on the health and safety of passengers and crew.

Behind the scenes, CLIA and cruise lines have been working around the clock to solve problems, take swift action and enforce the important measures we adopted in response to COVID-19. We’ve been in constant contact with health authorities in Australia and internationally to ensure we have the most appropriate measures in place, and we’ve been liaising closely with the Australian Government to make sure the needs of our guests and our industry are accommodated.

There have been many questions about how the industry will move forward and what action will be taken next. Though there are still a lot of unknowns, the industry is already looking ahead.

In recent days CLIA has united with other industry organisations like the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) and the Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) to back their messages to government about the support Australia’s travel and tourism industry needs.

We have also united with our colleagues internationally to develop a strategic approach to our messaging as we rebuild. Our key priorities will include backing the full spectrum of businesses that make up the cruise community, including the travel agents, tourism operators and suppliers we depend upon.

Cruising supports more than 18,000 jobs across Australia and will be an important part of our economic revival as the world emerges from this outbreak. However difficult the journey, we’re a resilient industry and will maintain our focus on the path ahead.