Our best news in two years
By Joel Katz, Managing Director, CLIA Australasia
BREAKTHROUGHS at the Federal level have brought big wins for our industry over recent weeks, allowing us to move forward and focus on the task of restoring prosperity to Australia’s travel economy.
Last month’s confirmation that the Federal Government will lift its cruise ban on April 17 is the best news we’ve had in two years, and it has been swiftly followed by big announcements from cruise lines on the operations they plan in Australia from the middle of the year.
This news gives hope to more than 18,000 Australians who depend on cruise tourism, including travel agents, tour operators, food and produce providers, entertainers, port workers and many other industry suppliers.
CLIA and our cruise line members have been having detailed discussions with state governments about the next steps — in particular, the specific health protocols that will need to be finalised before cruise ships can return. These discussions are making good progress and expect to secure finalised plans for cruising very soon.
Recent weeks also brought confirmation that the Australian Government will release an outstanding $75.5 million as part of the COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program. This will provide a much-needed boost to many travel agents and other businesses left devastated by travel bans through the pandemic.
CLIA joined with other peak industry bodies to welcome this news, including AFTA, ATEC and CATO, who have all mounted intensive lobbying efforts to secure travel industry support.
Though they’ve been a long time coming, the successes we have seen in recent weeks have come about through incredible persistence from within our industry and the overwhelming support we’ve had from travel agents and the wider cruise community. We’re grateful for your backing and look forward to sharing more prosperous times in the future.