The Australian cruise industry has helped mark a milestone for recovering communities on the NSW South Coast as the 2,000-passenger Norwegian Jewel became the first ship to visit the port of Eden since the recent bushfires.

It follows on from Sun Princess’ return to the bushfire-affected communities of Kangaroo Island last week.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz has highlighted the importance of regional cruising for the economy.

“With the return of cruise tourism to Eden, 100% of Australia’s cruise ports are now open for business and welcoming visitors,” he said.

“More than 60 cruise ships will call on Australian ports over the current summer season and the fact they’re all continuing to operate as scheduled will help lift confidence in many parts of the tourism industry.”

CLIAA Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz

He said the return of cruise passengers to Eden helped demonstrate that Australia remained accessible and ready to offer extraordinary experiences for visitors.

“Together with the swift revival of cruise tourism on Kangaroo Island, the arrival of Norwegian Jewel in Eden is proof of the resilience of our regional communities and their tourism operators,” he said.

“Their support is invaluable and we’re grateful for the incredible hospitality they provide to cruise passengers, despite difficult times.”

The Australian cruise industry is worth more than $5 billion a year to the national economy and helps support more than 18,000 jobs around the country.

CLIA has joined with other tourism industry organisations to ensure a coordinated response to the bushfires and a united voice to government.

The cruise industry has welcomed Tourism Australia’s “Holiday Here This Year” campaign launched yesterday, and the initial $76 million tourism recovery package announced by the Australian Government as part of its National Bushfire Recovery Fund.

“The cruise industry joins Australians in thanking firefighters, volunteers and other emergency personnel for their dedication,” he said.

“We hope for a swift recovery in affected communities and our thoughts are with those who have suffered losses in these tragic events.”