Authorities are warning Australians against booking an international holiday or a cruise until bans are lifted, despite some lines announcing they would take passengers from August.
Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham told ABC News he is urging Australians not to book holidays that are currently banned.
“There are no guarantees about when any of the activities will restart,” he said.
“Certainly no guarantees about international travel and definitely no guarantees about international cruise shipping.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that Australians would not be able to have an international holiday “anytime soon” and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts international travel will not return to ‘normal’ until 2023.
However, many wholesalers and cruise lines have said they wish to emerge from suspension as soon as August.
Deputy chief medical officer Nick Coatsworth told ABC News that when it comes to cruise holidays, Australians should be putting their plans on hold for now.
“There will be an opportunity and time to consider whether cruise ships are the right place to go, but I would suggest it is too early at this point in time,” he said.
Despite this, reports have indicated some cruise lines are bookings have gone up a staggering 600 per cent.
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is working with its members on a new health framework for guest safety to rebuild trust in the cruise industry after hundreds of cases of COVID-19 have been traced back to cruise passengers, most notably Ruby Princess.
CLIA’s regional managing director, Joel Katz, said the industry was working with medical experts and health authorities internationally to lay a new foundation for the cruise sector as it prepares for its long-term recovery.
“While cruise operations are suspended, we are using this time to define the new landscape we will work within and make sure we’re ready when the time comes to sail again,” he said.
“Many teams of people around the world are working in tandem with experts to ensure we learn as much as possible from these unprecedented events and exceed community expectations in our response.”
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