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CLIA Australasia’s Virtual Cruise Forum suggests tide is turning on cruise shutdown

Gavin Smith is optimistic about cruising’s return to Australia
Speakers at Cruise Lines International Association Australasia’s Virtual Cruise Forum on Friday showed some optimism that cruise restrictions may be eased.

The event had more than 800 registrations from 22 countries, topping the record 600 who attended Cruise360 in 2019.

Held in lieu of Cruise360

Highlight of the forum, held in lieu of this year’s postponed Cruise360, was the opening session on ‘State of the Industry — The Road to Recovery.’

CLIA Global President and CEO Kelly Craighead, UK and Ireland MD Andy Harmer and Royal Caribbean’s VP Asia Pacific Angie Stephen joined locally-based cruise line executives Gavin Smith, Royal Caribbean’s VP and MD Australasia and chairman of CLIA Australasia; Sture Myrmell, president of Carnival Australia and chair of CLIA’s advocacy committee; Ben Angell, Norwegian Cruise Line’s VP and MD APAC; and Sarina Bratton, chairman Asia Pacific Ponant Yacht Cruises & Expeditions.

The session covered the devastating impact the closure of Australia’s borders on March 18, 2020, has had on cruise and how the industry has developed the most stringent health protocols to be found anywhere in tourism.

The consensus was ‘there is light at the end of the tunnel.’

Tide is turning

‘The tide is turning,’ Gavin Smith said.

 Smith said this has been evident in the last 10 to 14 days, with the NSW premier being positive about easing restrictions.

‘I think there is great optimism,’ he said.

CLIA’s pathway to recovery

To coincide with the event, CLIA Australasia MD Joel Katz issued a four-part ‘pathway to recovery plan’ developed in response to Australia’s four-phase National Plan:

Part 1 replaces the current cruise suspension with an agreed framework for a phased resumption of cruising, beginning initially with domestic sailings.

Part 2 is the beginning of domestic-only cruises with extensive health protocols in place, including requirements for vaccinations and testing.

Part 3 is for expanded domestic sailings and progress to carefully controlled cruises within trans-Tasman or regional ‘bubbles.’

Part 4 is the resumption of carefully controlled international itineraries from Australian ports with ongoing health protocols and testing/vaccination requirements.

See also 'CLIA Australasia’s Virtual Cruise Forum told to foster partnerships'

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