A spectacular return for cruising
By Joel Katz, Managing Director, CLIA Australasia
The sight of Pacific Explorer entering Sydney Harbour last month at the end of Australia’s cruise suspension was an incredible moment for an industry that has fought so hard for revival.
Flanked by tugs spraying water cannons into the air, the P&O Australia flagship gave us just the spectacle we needed to signal cruising’s return to local waters and the opportunity to rebuild a sector previously worth more than $5 billion a year to the Australian economy.
Pacific Explorer’s arrival on the east coast was followed a week later by the return of Ponant’s Le Laperouse in the north-west, where it became the first international vessel to join local operators sailing the Kimberley coast between Darwin and Broome.
Other ships will return ahead of the summer season, and remaining states like South Australia and Tasmania are expected to announce soon how they’ll join other jurisdictions in allowing a careful resumption of cruising.
Worldwide, more than 80% of the CLIA ocean cruise fleet is back in service and we expect this number to reach 95% by the end of July.
More than 7.5 million people have sailed since cruising began its return in late 2020 and the number of countries where ships can now sail is approaching 100.
Importantly, the success of the cruise industry’s protocols against Covid-19 has brought increasing confidence among consumers.
CLIA’s latest global research shows the portion of past cruisers who say they want to sail again in coming years has risen to 84% — a level higher than before the pandemic.
There’s no doubt cruising’s revival in our region has been fuelled by the fantastic support we’ve received from our travel agents, our industry supporters and our cruise line members. We’re incredibly grateful for your backing and look forward to joining you at sea in the near future.