The Special Commission of Inquiry’s report into the Ruby Princess‘ COVID-19 debacle will play a crucial role in the restart of cruising in Australia, according to the Australian Cruise Association (ACA).
The ACA said in a statement it was pleased with the findings of the report and noted it “upheld the integrity” of Princess Cruises and how its team in Australia managed the COVID-19 outbreak that resulted from Ruby Princess‘ disembarkation.
“This document will also inform the ongoing discussions and planning being undertaken by the cruise sector in conjunction with the Australian government and individual state governments and their agencies around the safe and responsible restart of cruising in our country,” the ACA said.
The association also outlined cruise tourism’s role in the Australian economy and its potential to provide much-needed financial support to large city gateways and smaller regional destinations.
“Over 18,000 Australians rely on our sector for a job and the industry contributes $5.2 billion in economic output,” the ACA said.
“ACA’s membership is a diverse representation that covers tourism operators, transport providers, provedores, ports and attractions – all of whom are deeply affected by the pause in business.
“As such, it is vital that we find a way to restart cruising in this country while also most importantly, ensuring the safety of the destinations, the passengers, and the crew.”
The ACA said it is working closely with like-minded organisations in Europe, New Zealand, the US and of course, Cruise Lines International Association Australasia (CLIA) to monitor the country’s health and hygiene protocols and their plans to welcome back cruise ships.
“There is no doubt that cruising will follow a staged plan and may not look like it did previously, but we look forward to exploring all the options being considered including the introduction of state-by-state cruising with domestic guests through to a mix of sea and land-based packages that have robust and effective health and safety protocols,” the association said.
“While we acknowledge the complexities of restarting our cruise industry in Australia, we welcome the opportunity to work with the appropriate authorities on a step by step re-commencement of cruising which is vital to supporting our visitor economy and putting Australians back to work.”
The Special Commission of Inquiry into the Ruby Princess handed in its findings on Friday in which Walker slammed NSW Health for its “inexcusable” and “inexplicable” mistakes.
The inquiry was established in April after 2,700 passengers were allowed to disembark the Ruby Princess at Circular Quay in March, which led to hundreds of cases of COVID-19 and at least 28 deaths.
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