The number of passengers who have sailed worldwide since ocean cruise operations resumed last year has now passed three million people, while governments in Australia and New Zealand are still yet to agree on plans for a local revival.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) managing director Australasia Joel Katz notes cruising has resumed in 52 countries worldwide and that Australasia remains one of the only major cruise regions where governments had not progressed plans for resumption.
‘Worldwide, more than 70% of CLIA cruise line ocean-going ships are back in operation and we expect that figure to reach 80% in December,’ Katz says. ‘This shows the effectiveness of the cruise industry’s new health protocols introduced in response to the global pandemic.
Travel advisors should plan to prioritise loyal customers when people are able to travel again, a presenter at the CLIA Cruise Forum webinars said last week.
Michael Londregan, senior vice-president global operations of Virtuoso, was one of many speakers who noted that overseas experience indicated a rush to travel advisors when borders opened. Ironically this could cause problems considering the huge reduction in staff that travel businesses now have.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) managing director Australasia Joel Katz says this is the only major cruise region in the world not making progress towards revival after the Canadian Government announced it had brought forward the end of its cruise suspension to 1 November 2021.
Canada’s plans to revive cruise tourism place it alongside other destinations including the US, UK, Europe and parts of Asia where cruising has already resumed under stringent new health protocols and testing regimes.
It is too early to write off cruising in 2020-21 and the industry is still working towards making it happen, a Cruise Line Industry Association (CLIA) media conference reiterated this week.
‘Nothing is guaranteed. But we’ve got weeks and months to engage with authorities on this,’ says Gavin Smith, chair of CLIA Australasia.
A stepped approach to restarting cruising could begin with cruises to nowhere and then extend out to domestic and regional cruising, the wider industry and affiliates heard at a webinar this week.
Hosted by New Zealand Cruise Association (NZCA), the webinar featured Joel Katz, managing director of the Cruise Lines Industry Association Australasia, and was moderated by NZCA chairperson Debbie Summers. It attracted port operators, hoteliers, ground operators, regional tourism representatives, South Pacific tourism operators and more.
The New Zealand Cruise Association (NZCA) has called for the cruise industry to share stories about why cruise is important.
‘Talk to anybody and everybody using whatever media, social media outlet you are comfortable with,’ says CEO Kevin O’Sullivan. ‘The cruise industry in New Zealand will recover, but it needs your help.’