After two years of closed maritime borders, this week’s news that cruise ships can return to Aotearoa’s waters without restrictions from 31 July has been greeted with a sense of cautious optimism and relief, says the New Zealand Cruise Association.
The Prime Minister’s announcement that the maritime border will reopen without added restrictions means cruise lines can start confirming port calls and preparing ships with certainty, says the association’s chair Debbie Summers.
New Zealand Cruise Association is warning that New Zealand risks losing millions of dollars unless the Government can confirm as soon as possible when our maritime borders will reopen.
The association says the continuing lack of certainty on the future of the cruise sector is also putting at risk hundreds of ailing tourism businesses that support the cruise sector around the country.
The New Zealand Cruise Association has expressed its frustration yet again at the government’s failure to even indicate a timeline for a restart in this region.
The association says that it is ‘most likely not until next year’, in its latest newsletter.
‘This month would ordinarily (whatever that means now) see the beginning of the New Zealand cruise season. However, port visits have reduced by 88%, with more to come. It’s important to understand that cruise lines want to operate here but are unable to do so because of the New Zealand government prohibition on ships entering our maritime border.
The Milford Opportunities Project’s masterplan has innovative, bold and challenging ideas that could radically change the way we look after one of the jewels in New Zealand’s tourism crown, Tourism Industry Aotearoa says.
‘The Milford corridor from Te Anau to the Sound is a key tourism asset for New Zealand and as such demands special attention,’ TIA chief executive Chris Roberts says.
‘TIA supports the overall vision of the new masterplan. Many of the details will need to be closely examined and discussed, but the debate is necessary as the way Milford Sound Piopiotahi has been operating is not sustainable.’
The NZ Cruise Conference 2021 has been postponed until mid-year 2022.
Chairman Debbie Summers says this year has proven that the sector is still in a time of flux and change. ‘The board felt it is better to wait, get a semblance of a season under our belts in 2021-22 and organise something that is positive, value for money and with international speakers at this later time.
‘We are potentially looking at a series of regional updates with members as we travel the country over the remainder of 2021.’
Travel trade and tourism operators were last night clinging to at least some hope that PONANT’s domestic cruising season around New Zealand will take shape in one form or another.
Yesterday the cruise line was continuing to talk to Immigration NZ after its shock last minute decision to prevent Le Laperouse from coming to New Zealand – despite having the green light from the Ministry of Health. At the time of going to press it was believed a final decision would be made today.
Optimism is growing around the resumption of New Zealand based cruising, with PONANT releasing details of three cruises early next year.
The company says it is ‘working with authorities for a potential restart and looks forward to a positive result.’ PONANT adds that the objective is to ‘provide locals with a fabulous luxury expedition programme at the same time as giving economic benefits to
The 2020-21 New Zealand cruise season continues to look grim, with about 40% of port calls in the country cancelled so far, according to NZ Cruise Association figures.
At the same time the number of expected cruise guests in the country over summer has already reduced by nearly 150,000 from the expected 384,000 plus.
Princess Cruises has been largely exonerated in the report of the Australian Special Commission of Inquiry into the Ruby Princess cruise ship coronavirus outbreak. he report was released last Friday 14 and the Commissioner heavily criticised Australian health officials.
Kevin O’Sullivan, chief executive of the New Zealand Cruise Association, says the organisation is pleased with the outcome. ‘It has been a very stressful time for Carnival and Princess because of mismanagement by Australian health agencies.’
The inquiry found ‘serious errors’ by New South Wales Health in its handling of suspected cases on board.
‘The Commission’s report confirms that none of our people — the Captain, the ship’s doctor, or members of our shore side port agency team — misled public authorities involved in Ruby Princess being permitted to disembark guests on March 19,’ says Jan Swartz, group president, Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia.
‘This finding is of great importance to us because it goes to the integrity of our people. In our more than 20 years in Australia, we have always sought to cooperate honestly and professionally with officials in accordance with the regulatory environment.
‘We acknowledge the Commission’s specific comments about Carnival Australia, and we will consider these comments to the fullest possible extent,’ Swartz adds.
Princess Cruises also welcomes the Commission’s attention to improving information sharing and coordination among government agencies in the future. In our submission to the inquiry, we agreed that this area deserved consideration. We look forward to collaborating with government agencies and industry peers to improve these systems.
Supply chain survival is one of the ‘New Zealand specific challenges’ highlighted by Debbie Summers in her NZ Cruise Association chairman’s report 2020.
‘Our members include retailers, wholesalers, tour operators, port agents, ground handlers, and hospitality – all part of a supply chain that is critical to the sector.
‘In a nutshell it is crucial we all do our best to hold tight, to survive, to ignore the naysayers, to harness our passion and the facts and go out there and fight for the return of our cruise industry,’ Summers told TRAVELinc Memo after the AGM.
In her report, Summers summarised the dire current situation for cruising and outlined a number of challenges to overcome. But she also touched on opportunities – including that cruise lines are looking keenly at our region for a safe and measured restart within our domestic arena. ‘We are talking about kiwi cruises for kiwis just as Air NZ has once again opened the skies for New Zealander’s to see their own country.
‘We can stimulate travel, starting with some really immersive itineraries.’
Summers points out that supply chain survival is largely reliant on borders. ‘We need safe corridors with countries with zero comunication (this is our Government’s indication on who we can do business with in the future) opening as soon as we are able.’
She says New Zealand is fortunate to have a close safe source market (‘heading that way at least’) in Australia. ‘One in 17 Australians like to cruise. They made up over 50% of our cruise market pre Covid 19.’