The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has released a four-phase pathway toward a resumption of cruising in Australia based on vaccine percentages.
The cruise pathway has been developed in response to the federal government’s four-phase National Plan, which sets out key stages of reopening and the national vaccination targets that trigger them.
CLIA’s regional managing director, Joel Katz, said aligning the industry’s pathway with the government’s national plan would help provide certainty for Australians whose jobs rely on cruising.
It would also allow the implementation of extensive health protocols developed by cruise lines globally in response to COVID-19, which are already operating where cruising has restarted overseas.
“This is about having plans agreed in advance so that we’re ready as conditions improve with the rising vaccination rate,” Katz said.
“Our governments have created a four-phase plan to reopen Australia, and we’re now calling for our own four-phase pathway to be included in this process.”
Key goals in the cruise industry pathway are set against each of the four phases in the National Plan:
- Current phase (vaccinate, prepare and pilot) – agreement between governments and the cruise industry on a framework for cruising’s restart and the industry’s layered health protocols, with potential to pilot small domestic expedition cruises as health conditions allow.
- Vaccination transition phase (~70 per cent of adult population vaccinated) – resume limited domestic-only cruises within an Australian bubble, in line with the industry’s health protocols.
- Consolidation phase (≥80 per cent of adult population vaccinated) – more extensive domestic sailings and carefully controlled trans-Tasman itineraries and other regional “bubble” sailings when conditions allow, with ongoing health protocols in place.
- Post-vaccination phase – resume carefully controlled international itineraries from Australian ports with ongoing health protocols in place.
Katz said Australia was now the only major cruise market in the world where governments had yet to achieve progress on a framework for cruising’s resumption.
“Almost one million people have successfully sailed in countries where cruising has already resumed, including in the US, Europe and parts of Asia,” he said.
“Cruising involves long lead-times ahead of operations, so we need a plan in place now so we can work towards reviving an industry worth more than $5 billion a year to communities around Australia.”
Featured image source: iStock/JavenLin