SYDNEY – Australia’s cruise industry continues to operate at full capacity and partners have come onboard along with other tourism sectors in planning for the recovery of communities impacted by fires.
The safety of guests is always paramount. Cruise lines will also consider whether itinerary changes are necessary to avoid placing pressure on regions dealing with emergencies.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia has confirmed all major cruise lines in the region are currently operating as scheduled and that most Australian cruise destinations are unaffected by the fires.
“Cruise lines are monitoring the situation in Australia closely and if required can adjust itineraries to avoid areas affected by fire,” said CLIA Australasia managing director Joel Katz.
“The safety of guests is always paramount. Cruise lines will also consider whether itinerary changes are necessary to avoid placing pressure on regions dealing with emergencies.”
To date, five cruise itineraries have had minor adjustments to avoid ports in areas that have been impacted by fire. Of approximately 50 cruise ports in Australia, only two regional destinations have been affected, though it is expected they will be accessible again soon.
“Cruise lines have made clear they want to return to these ports as soon as possible to help support local businesses and assist in their recovery,” Mr Katz said. “Tourism is vital in these parts of Australia and the passion of local communities has made them popular destinations.”
Major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne are unaffected by fires (other than periods of smoke haze), as are most other cruise ports around Australia.
“As a vast country, most of Australia is open for business and welcoming visitors,” Mr Katz said. “Tourism Australia has provided excellent information at australia.com to keep visitors informed and give details on the large areas of the country that are open and accessible.”
He added that CLIA had united with other Australian tourism organisations in planning for the recovery of destinations hit by fires.
“We’re in close contact with tourism leaders nationally to ensure a united response to the bushfire situation,” he said. “Cruise tourism is worth A$5.2 billion (US$3.6 billion) a year to the Australian economy and we know it will play an important part in the economic recovery of key locations.”
Several cruise lines have provided assistance to affected communities including significant donations to recovery funds, said CLIA in a press release.