JOEL Katz, Managing Director CLIA Australasia

Europe’s progress offers opportunities for Australia

It’s early days, but restricted ocean cruising is emerging in countries overseas, giving encouraging signs of the resilience of our industry in the face of COVID-19 and a glimpse of what might be possible in Australia.

With strict health protocols in place and controlled itineraries that work within international travel restrictions, we are now seeing a careful revival in countries including Germany, Norway, France and Taiwan.

In Germany, for example, the cruise industry has worked closely with local and national authorities to open the way for limited itineraries that begin and end within Germany, do not visit other countries, and cater only to citizens of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.

To help make this happen, CLIA and its member lines have engaged in the development of the European Union’s Healthy Gateways guidance, as well as the European Maritime Safety Agency guidance. Together, these initiatives aim to establish a pan-European benchmark for national maritime and public health authorities for the resumption of cruising.

Similar concepts may provide a pathway towards resumption in Australia and CLIA is engaged with governments to ensure they understand the work cruise lines are doing internationally to make this feasible. By creating limited domestic itineraries with comprehensive screening and health measures in place, we see an opportunity to revive cruising for Australian residents while at the same time protecting Australia from outside infection while borders remain closed.

There’s still much work to be done, but we will continue to work with governments and health authorities to create a framework that will support a revival in Australia when the time is right.