Travel agents in Australia have taken onboard a campaign to persuade the federal government to lift its suspension of cruising.
Thousands of cruise supporters have fired a shot across the bows of the country’s politicians with a concerted barrage of emails detailing the plight of travel suppliers hit by the extension of Australia’s domestic cruising ban until 17 December.
More than 43,000 emails have been sent to lawmakers as part of the online Ready, Set, Sail campaign launched by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
Most of the messages detail the private and professional impact the ban is having on the livelihoods of those who supply and sell cruise vacations.
The CLIA campaign has united Australia’s cruise community which has been frustrated by the suspension of cruising for all but locally flagged vessels since March. The government cites specialist medical and epidemiological advice around the Covid pandemic for keeping ships away from Australian shores.
CLIA managing director Australasia Joel Katz said after extensive discussions with governments over many months “the time has come to put plans into action and agree on a path forward for cruising”.
He said CLIA wants a detailed framework for cruising’s resumption, backed by the industry’s extensive new global health protocols.
Katz added, “Australia is now one of the few major cruise markets in the world where governments have made no progress towards a resumption of cruising.
“Asian markets like Singapore, Chinese Taipei and Hong Kong have been among the pioneers in planning a responsible resumption of cruising in this region, with extensive new health protocols in place.
“We’d like to see that success replicated in Australia so we can revive employment opportunities and help travel agents recover from the worst of the pandemic.”
The cruise ban continues to take a heavy toll. P&O Australia has extended its pause in operations for all P&O Cruises Australia ships for all departures on and before 17 December 2021. Due to deployment changes, it has also cancelled select itineraries departing in February 2022.