Aust losing expeditions
AUSTRALIA is losing out on attracting foreign expedition cruise vessels, resulting in lost tourism opportunities because of inconsistencies and restrictions in Government policy.
Speaking at the Australian Cruise Association conference, Ponant chairman Sarina Bratton said between 2018 and 2022 there were 22 new expedition cruise ship builds lined up, but the majority were yet to commit to Australian deployments.
“We have issues facing expedition cruises. There are many companies that would love to call Australia home but they can’t,” said Bratton, pictured.
Presently the Coastal Trading Act skews heavily in favour of domestic ships and Australian crews in many areas of operation, representing increased costs and operational challenges to foreign flagged vessels, particularly under 5,000 tonnes.
“In New Zealand you can operate for 28 days before your ship needs to go international,” Bratton said.
“We’ve got charters lined up from New Zealand but the current Australian operating environment is way too challenging.”
Bratton has again called for change in policy, urging stakeholders within the cruise industry to “lobby Government to change the rules for international vessels of any size to be able to operate without restrictions”.