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NZ cruising not until late 2022

The New Zealand Cruise Association says its ‘most realistic estimate’ is that the industry here will not crank up until the last quarter of 2022.

Chief executive officer Kevin O’Sullivan says this is based on the considerable time it will taker to work with the government through acceptable procedures and protocols which are in place successfully in other countries but still have to be agreed by our officials.

‘These talks have not yet begun but could start once New Zealand achieves vaccination rates above 90%.’

He says cruise will return in a managed and phased manner conditional on community good will, which will require work beyond the port booking system.

‘Ports are already aware of this and will be reluctant to accept cruise ship visits without agreement from the community.’

O’Sullivan notes that much of the infrastructure essential to cruise, such as coaches and international tourism staff is no longer in place. This will require a great deal of work to sort out in the short to medium term.

‘NZCA will be concentrating on seminars and workshops across the country, working with local government and regional tourism organisations with destination management plans to prepare regions for the return of cruise. Of course we cannot begin this yet as we must wait until Auckland is out of lockdown so we can travel more freely.

‘We have confidence that we will see ships coming back later in 2022 with high vaccination rates driving the return. Some may feel even this is optimistic and others will believe it is unduly negative, but it is a realistic scenario.’

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