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Cruise Industry To Work Towards 2021 Revival Despite Mid-March Cruise Ban

The Australian cruise industry will continue to advocate for a phased and carefully controlled resumption of operations in 2021 with extensive new health measures in place.

The Australian cruise industry will continue to advocate for a phased and carefully controlled resumption of operations in 2021 with extensive new health measures in place.

In March of this year, the Federal Government imposed a ban on both domestic and international cruises which was due to be lifted on December 17.

However, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly and Health Minister Greg Hunt made the announcement yesterday that there will be a further ban on cruise ships operating around Australia until 17 March 2021, with an international travel ban until at least 30 March 2021.

The cruise industry recently launched a campaign to convince the government to allow domestic trips, but cruises are still seen as too high-risk to resume.

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Despite the news, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz has welcomed the Australian Government’s statement that it is working with the industry and state and territory agencies to develop a framework for the staged resumption of cruise ships in local waters.

“Australia’s success in stemming COVID-19 has created the opportunity for a carefully managed and responsible pathway towards recovery,”

Joel Katz, CLIA Managing Director Australasia

“We need to work towards replacing the existing blanket suspension of cruise operations with an approval process that will allow cruise lines to progress a phased and tightly controlled resumption in 2021,” Mr Katz said.

Cruise lines have developed extensive new health measures in response to COVID-19, utilising the insight of leading medical experts internationally and locally.

The industry believes there is an opportunity to allow a phased resumption of domestic operations while international travel restrictions remain in place.

“Cruising can progress a responsible restart domestically within Australia, using ships and crew that have gone through all required quarantine procedures,” Mr Katz said.

“Ships and crew would then remain within the Australian safe-zone or bubble, offering local cruising to locals only, within Australia, until international borders reopen.”

Under proposals presented to government by CLIA and cruise lines, cruises would initially restart with COVID-19 protocols that match or exceed those of other sectors on land.

This would include limited passenger numbers to ensure social distancing, 100% testing of guests and crew, and extensive screening, hygiene, and sanitation protocols.

“Cruising delivers enormous financial benefit to communities around Australia and supports around 18,000 jobs across the country,” Mr Katz said.

“We look forward to working with government to plan a careful revival of the country’s $5 billion-a-year cruise industry.”

Joel Katz, CLIA Managing Director Australasia

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