Cruise

CLIA urge government to provide economic support as ships begin to turn away from Aussie shores

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has called on the Federal Government to provide urgent economic assistance to local Australian businesses left devastated by the suspension of cruise tourism.

CLIA lodged a pre-budget submission highlighting the extensive losses suffered by Australian travel agents, tourism operators, industry suppliers and other local businesses since cruise operations were halted almost two years ago.

The submission backed efforts by other industry bodies including the Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) and the Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and calls for the government to finalise plans for a careful resumption of cruising in Australia as a first step towards reviving the country’s $5 billion-a year cruise economy.

It supports calls for financial assistance for local businesses and for the removal of Australia’s Passenger Movement Charge ($60) to help stimulate international tourism once borders fully open.

CLIA managing director Australasia, Joel Katz, said more than 18,000 Australians relied on cruise tourism for their livelihoods and were increasingly angry at a lack of action to revive the industry.

“Cruise lines are not seeking financial assistance for themselves, but for the thousands of local Australian businesses that have been cut off from cruise tourism for almost two years,” Katz said.

“People in communities around our coasts have been left devastated by the government’s cruise ban and need urgent support until ships can return.

“We need state and federal governments to commit to detailed plans for a careful, phased resumption of cruising in Australia, so that communities around our coasts can begin to recover.”

CLIA’s submission to the government comes after Carnival Cruise Line announced it will relocate Carnival Spirit to Jacksonville Florida due to uncertainty around the Australian cruise industry.

The decision “will come as a sickening thud for Australia’s travel agent community desperate to see a restart of cruising in Australia,” according to Dan Russel, the general manager of Brisbane based Clean Cruising.

“It is beyond doubt that the Carnival Spirit deployment away from Australia is a direct result of the indecision on the part of federal and state governments over the restart of cruising in Australia.”

The federal government extended the cruising ban to 17 February last year. This marked the twenty-third cruise cancellation announcement since the rolling ban began in March 2020.



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