Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia has estimated that the pause in cruise operations this year has cost the Australian economy and communities nearly $2 billion.
Citing the industry’s ‘Economic Impact Assessment’, CLIA Australasia managing director Joel Katz said that $500 million was lost from March to July alone, as the coronavirus pandemic forced ships to stop sailing.
“By the end of December this will have risen to a massive $2 billion loss, given the ongoing pause in operations during the traditional summer peak cruise season, with another $3 billion at risk across the economy if the cruise suspension continues into 2021,” Mr Katz said.
“This includes travel agents, fresh food suppliers, tour operators, hotels, bus companies, baggage handlers, Aussie entertainers, and the thousands of other businesses across the country which rely on the cruise industry.”
Commissioned by CLIA and the Australian Cruise Association (ACA), the 2019-20 report showed that the cruise industry in Australia normally generated $5.2 billion in spend along with 18,000 jobs.
“More than 2.9 million passenger visit days were recorded to 42 different ports around Australia in 2019-20, bringing economic benefit to some of the furthest regions of the country,” ACA CEO Jill Abel said.
“Thousands of Australian businesses are supported by this spending in destinations around the country and many are under threat while operations are suspended.”
With this in mind, CLIA has presented a plan to the Federal Government that recommends a “carefully controlled” resumption of domestic cruising in Australia when the current ban on cruising expires on 17 December.
“This would initially involve restricted local cruises for local residents only, with limited passenger numbers, 100% testing of guests and crew, and extensive screening and sanitation protocols in place,” Mr Katz remarked.
“Working with governments and health authorities, cruising can progress a responsible restart domestically within Australia, using ships and crew that have gone through all required quarantine procedures.”
“Ships and crew would then remain within the Australian safe-zone or bubble, offering cruising to locals within Australia until international borders reopen.”
These measures are part of a process to create mandatory worldwide policies for all CLIA ocean ships globally.
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