Australian suppliers have expressed relief over the government’s decision to revive the once-$15 billion cruise industry, however key details like safety protocols are yet to be determined by authorities which could cause further delays, reports 9news.
Current state of cruise industry
Health Minister Greg Hunt said today the Federal Government would be working with states and territories to resume cruising in Australia, but that it would be up to individual governments to “ensure they are ready”.
Mr Hunt said New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland were the most “advanced in their consideration”, meaning they are expected to be the first offering the service.
“Work has advanced significantly with states and territories, it will be up to them to ensure they are ready and feel they are in a position to do this.
“We are simply in the position now of waiting for protocols to be agreed and developed by individual states and territories.”
Mr Hunt said there needs to be a “three-way partnership between the cruise sector, the Commonwealth, and the states and territories.”
These protocols include plans for repeated testing and isolation.
But cruising is not returning soon enough for many keen for a maritime holiday. A rally has already been scheduled in Sydney this Sunday for those demanding a faster return for cruising.
‘We need governments to sign off as soon as possible’
Cruise Lines International Association managing director Joel Katz welcomed National Cabinet’s announcement for the “careful resumption” of cruising but asked for the government to sign off on new health protocols “as soon as possible”.
“Most cruise lines have cancelled sailings through to the end of May and it will take several months to prepare ships for their return, so we need governments to sign off on industry protocols as soon as possible so we can begin a careful and responsible revival of cruise tourism in Australia,” he said.
He emphasised more than seven million people had already sailed on cruise ships around the world, with new health protocols in place.
President of Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises Australia Marguerite Fitzgerald agreed it was a “breakthrough development” welcomed by many Australian tourism and food suppliers.
Travel agents, fresh produce suppliers, tour operators, along with the hospitality and accommodation sector have all been suffering with the ban on the lucrative industry.
The cruise industry has been out of work since the end of March 2020, when an initial 30-day cruise ship ban was announced.
Mr Hunt extended the cruising ban in December last year and it was originally meant to lift on February 17, however, now it will be able to restart slightly earlier once states and territories agree on safety protocols.
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