O’Sullivan said this is based on the considerable time it will take to work with government through acceptable procedures and protocols.
Ships deployed elsewhere
‘We are already in the first month of what should have been the 2021/22 cruise season, but around 90% of port calls have already been cancelled and many ships are deployed elsewhere,’ he said.
He said the NZCA is in regular contact with various government agencies, including Maritime New Zealand, the New Zealand Ministry of Transport and the New Zealand Ministry of Health.
‘Any changes to the maritime border will continue to involve the Ministry of Health which has over-arching control, along with the Prime Minister’s Department, while we are in the middle of this pandemic,’ he said.
Auckland in lockdown
‘Senior Ministry of Health personnel have made it clear that they want to discuss in detail the return of cruise — but not while their resources are stretched during the latest outbreak of community cases of COVID-19 and Auckland is in lockdown.’
O’Sullivan said the vaccination rate is improving every day and that Auckland will shortly reach the 90% mark for the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, with full vaccination some weeks later.
‘But there is no clear direction from government yet on what this means in terms of any change to alert levels or to Auckland’s lockdown while the community cases increase,’ he said.
‘Much of the infrastructure essential to cruise, such as coaches and international tourism staff, is no longer in place, which will require a great deal of work to sort out in the short to medium term.'
He said the NZCA will hold workshops across the country with regional tourist offices to prepare for cruising's return.
‘We cannot begin this yet, as we must wait until Auckland is out of lockdown so that we can travel more freely,’ he said.