The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has called for urgent talks with the government after Health Minister Greg Hunt extended Australia’s travel ban for a further three months.
Hunt announced on Thursday that the human biosecurity emergency period, which restricts the entry of cruise ships within Australian territory, would be extended until 17 December 2021.
CLIA ‘s regional managing director, Joel Katz, said Australia was the only major cruise destination in the world where governments had made no progress on plans for revival.
“Our discussions with government agencies have gone nowhere and our letters to the most senior levels of government have gone unanswered,” Katz said.
“Other countries have not only created detailed plans to uphold safety on cruise ships in response to the pandemic, but have already resumed cruising in a responsible way.
“More than a million passengers have sailed successfully in countries where cruising has resumed with strict health protocols in place, but in Australia, our calls for detailed discussions with health authorities have been ignored.”
Katz urged the government to include cruising in its four-phase plan for reopening.
“CLIA has outlined its own four-phase pathway to cruising’s revival, so we need governments to break the cycle of inaction and discuss how to put plans in place now so that we’re ready as conditions improve and vaccination rates rise,” he said.
“The livelihoods of thousands of Australians have been devastated while cruising has been suspended.
“These people deserve clarity and a plan for the future, so we can begin to rebuild and revive economic opportunities for communities around our coasts.”
In other CLIA news, the group is preparing to welcome a new intake of candidates this month as it hosts its Masters Program in a new online format.
The program, which was previously hosted at sea, equips agent members with specialised sales and marketing skills through a six-week online course.
Featured image source: iStock/SimonSkafar