UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has thrown his government’s support behind the cruise industry, as it continues to wade its way through what are some very choppy conditions.
During 10 Downing Street’s daily coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, the prime minister was asked by a journalist from Southampton about what the government is doing to protect cruise jobs.
The coronavirus pandemic has put the livelihoods of people in the cruise sector at risk, with Carnival UK last month confirming plans to make “a large number” of redundancies at its Southampton port.
“Like all industries, the cruise industry is going to have to go through – in the short-term at least – a period of self-reinvention to make sure it is COVID-secure,” Johnson replied.
“I have no doubt that it can do it. It’s a great British sector and we will support it in any way we can.”
Johnson’s show of support has been applauded by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) UK and Ireland’s director, Andy Harmer.
“The cruise industry voluntarily suspended operations, as it was the right thing to do while the world addressed the global health crisis,” Harmer said.
“However, the impact of this suspension is being felt heavily not only by cruise lines, but by people whose livelihoods depend upon the cruise industry, such as travel agents, tour operators, taxi drivers, and hoteliers.
“As the prime minister has said, the cruise industry is a ‘great British industry’. The industry generates £10 billion to the UK economy each year. It is also a resilient industry.
“We are currently working closely with the government, health authorities and ports to develop even more enhanced health protocols as we plan for the future resumption of operations. We look forward to playing our part in the country’s economic recovery.”
Joel Katz, CLIA managing director Australasia, also described the show of support from Johnson as “very welcome”, adding that the association is continuing its discussions with the Morrison government on a pathway forward for the cruise sector Down Under.
“In Australia, as in the UK and other countries globally, CLIA is working with governments and health authorities as we work towards the future resumption of cruise operations,” Katz said in a statement to Travel Weekly.
“Cruise lines are developing extensive measures to uphold the health and safety of passengers and crew, and we look forward to continuing our discussions with the Australian government on the appropriate pathway towards a resumption in this region.
“We will ultimately be guided by governments and health authorities on the timing, and in the meantime CLIA cruise lines are working with medical experts internationally to ensure we learn as much as possible from COVID-19 and develop the best possible measures in response.
“The safety and wellbeing of passengers, crew and the communities we visit will remain our highest priorities,” he said.
Featured image: Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing Street