P&O Cruises celebrity chef Luke Mangan is calling on Aussies to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in a bid to bring tourism and hospitality back to life.
As a powerful advocate for the safe restart of domestic cruising and its impacts for the broader hospitality sector, Mangan is encouraging the country to get a ‘Jab for Jobs’.
The restauranteur, who has venues in Sydney and at sea on P&O Australia ships, posted a selfie to Facebook last week following his second dose of the vaccine.
Mangan’s message came as Cairns-based tour operator Hummers and Harleys reported that the lack of cruise tourism and border uncertainty has resulted in a 70 per cent downturn in their business.
The business’ owners, Tina and Rory Murphy, invested in a second stretch Hummer limousine before the pandemic kicked off, specifically to cater for the cruise market.
“The cruise ships calling at Cairns and Port Douglas were good for business in other ways as well. They added a real buzz with the passengers in town spending money and having a good time, said Tina.
“We really enjoyed taking cruise passengers touring in our Hummers. It gave everything a great vibe.”
She said a carefully managed restart to cruising was a “no brainer”, especially seeing as nightclubs and football matches were now allowed.
“It just doesn’t make sense when a cruise ship could travel safely from Brisbane to destinations such as Cairns and Airlie Beach,” Tina said.
Sture Myrmell, president of Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises Australia, said the Murphys experience highlighted cruising’s multiplier effect generating $5 billion annually in economic activity in Australia prior to the pandemic including $1 billion in Queensland.
“Cruising is also vital to regional economies, and this emphasises why it is so important for federal and state governments to engage and agree on a pathway for the resumption of cruising,” he said.
“As things stand, it will be months before any cruise ship can return to Australia, but it is urgent to begin the restart conversation now so that businesses that depend on cruising can plan for the future.”
Despite the uncertainty, consumer appetite for cruising seems to be on the rise for P&O, which just announced a second Pride Cruise due to the popularity of their inaugural celebratory itinerary, set to sail from Sydney in November 2022.
The newly added sailing is set to depart Melbourne on 9 December 2022.
Unveiling details of the cruise on International Drag Day (Friday 16 July), Myrmell said the three-night getaway would feature plenty of fun and flair, including an entertainment line-up starring renowned drag artists Coco Jumbo and Etcetera Etcetera.
Across the Tasman, P&O has also unveiled an inaugural Country Cruise on board Pacific Explorer.
Departing Auckland on 11 November 2022, this three-night cruise will feature a string of the latest and greatest country music stars, performing new hits and well-loved classics across the ship.
Guests will also be able to enjoy a range of other country music activities during their getaway, from line dancing and ukulele lessons to bush poetry and a country music sail-away party.