This question was posed to Joel Katz, managing director of CLIA Australasia and Asia in Tuesday's opening session at Seatrade Cruise Global 2.0 Power Week.
‘In each of those markets where cruising has restarted, and we have recently seen this announced for South America and South Africa,’ it’s about open engagement between the government, the cruise lines and stakeholders,’ he responded.
Risk adverse health authorities
‘We are saying to the Australian government we need to have this discussion about a pathway forward. Our health authorities are very risk adverse and to give them credit that is why Australia and New Zealand are in such a good position from a covid perspective but at the same time that has made them very nervous about anything that potentially opens an avenue of the virus to get through the border.’
South Pacific impacted
Katz reminded pre-COVID cruising generated $5bn and 25,000 jobs across the South Pacific region. These have stalled. 'The entire South Pacific is a complex mesh supported by the cruise industry so we need to resume to help these communities,' he said.
‘We have some incredible examples from around the world from those who have restarted in a carefully managed way resulting in 2m passengers who have cruised since last year and we are using this data to put before the Australia and New Zealand governments.
‘At the same time it is demonstrating to them that we can bring the ships back into the country without jeopardising the border. Testing and isolation of crew before ships leave, then the journey on route and then testing on arrival. The quarantine will be for more than a month and crew will have had multiple PCR tests on top of being fully vaccinated so there is no risk in bringing those ships into the country,’ he said.
'Slowly we are starting to see momentum grow and the cruise community has generated 50,000 emails to ministers at state and federal levels and members of Parliament,’ Katz shared.
‘There is no reason why we can’t do a restart here.'
CLIA Australasia has taken the government’s plans to reopen Australia for travel and overlaid a four phase plan for cruising but hasn't heard back.
Light at the end of the tunnel
Katz is not disillusioned. He believes there is some light at the end of the tunnel and ‘we see that the pressure from the broader cruise community is starting to have an impact. We are ready to talk about tried and tested protocols and just need the government to sit down with us and listen.’
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