JOEL Katz, Managing Director CLIA Australasia
Acknowledgements for a revival
Though cruising remains suspended in Australia and New Zealand, our discussions with governments on both sides of the Tasman have received important acknowledgements in recent weeks.
Firstly, government agencies have recognised the important efforts the cruise industry is making at the global level to develop extensive new health and safety protocols. As you might know, there’s an enormous amount of work going on to create measures that will uphold the health of guests, crew and communities, and our governments have indicated they’re preparing to discuss this in further detail.
Secondly, there’s a growing recognition of the economic importance of cruising in Australasia, where cruise tourism generates more than $5 billion a year in economic output and supports more than 25,000 jobs. Governments are aware of the terrible financial cost COVID-19 has inflicted on our travel agent community and our other industry supporters, and we’ll continue to advocate on their behalf in all our government dealings.
Thirdly, government agencies have acknowledged our vision for a carefully phased regional approach to the resumption of cruising. While international borders remain closed, we see an opportunity for responsibly managed local cruising that will protect Australia and New Zealand from outside infection while at the same time opening the way for a much-needed revival of domestic tourism. We look forward to ongoing conversations in the near future, so that we can open a pathway towards resumption and economic revival.
It is still too soon to say when cruising might return to our region, but when the time is right we will be ready with the best-possible measures in place. Guided by the best available medical and scientific advice, we will maintain health and safety as our highest priority.