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Carnival Australia-led suppliers ask Canberra for pathway to cruise resumption

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Sture Myrmell, foreground, led the delegaton to Canberra
Representatives of fresh produce growers, travel agents, tour operators, marine engineering services and entertainers attended a special briefing at Parliament House in Canberra with Carnival Australia President Sture Myrmell.

The delegation met with members of Parliament from federal electorates in a number of states that benefit from economic activity generated by cruising.

Hit hard by COVID-19

They told the MPs that their businesses were among many in the travel and tourism sector hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Myrmell said the federal government’s recent extension of its biosecurity determination to September 17 had been anticipated, but the absence of an agreed pathway back for cruising, beginning with domestic itineraries, was ‘extremely disappointing.’

Industry-wide in the past 15 months, at least A$6bn in cruise-linked economic activity has been lost, he said.

25% of agencies closed

And a staggering 25% of Australian-based travel agencies specialising in cruise holidays on Carnival Australia brands in 2019 have now closed.

‘We need certainty as cruise operators to prepare for restart, but a framework to achieve this is just as vital for our many suppliers who are reeling from the suspension of cruising,’ he said.

A$100m spend 

Myrmell said the seven cruise lines under the Carnival Australia umbrella each year purchased food and beverage and wine valued at more than A$100m.

‘It is increasingly apparent that our loyal guests share our concern that there is still no pathway to the resumption of domestic cruising, even though they see other international markets opening up,’ he said.

‘Our guests know that the cruise industry has done the work in putting comprehensive protocols and policies in place to support a careful phased resumption of cruising.

‘Like us, they are looking for a framework that will enable them to safely return to their preferred choice of holidaying at sea.’

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