We need to get cruise industry out of the dock
IT’S TIME for Australia to have a serious conversation about cruising as a pathway to restart our once vibrant tourism industry.
In 2018/19, the cruise sector contributed more than $5bn to the Australian economy and provided jobs for more than 18,000 Australians.
The benefits of the sector are felt well beyond the capital cities with regional economies benefiting from the thousands of passengers who dispersed into some of Australia’s most beautiful regional towns.
Cruise passengers spend, on average, $387 each day they are on shore in Australia. The benefits are spread across the tourism industry with retail stores, tour operators and restaurants being some of the biggest beneficiaries.
But since the cruising sector has been docked, this lucrative tap has been turned off.
The cruise industry’s army of suppliers – farmers, travel agents, regional destinations, tour operators, hotels, restaurants, transport operators, live entertainers, musicians and retail outlets – are all feeling the effects.
Any industry that can safely contribute to the post-pandemic economic recovery should not be overlooked. Cruising has a capacity to support a wide range of small businesses that need all the opportunities they can get.
So why are governments ignoring a vital industry like cruising that is ready, willing and able to restart and in turn provide a much needed economic stimulus for countless small businesses?
Perhaps the Ruby Princess caused them to go quiet. They need to recognise that we’ve all come a long way since then.
Thanks to the work of medical scientists and public health experts, we now have a much greater understanding of COVID-19 and the precautions we need to take. Not to mention that Australia is heading towards a vaccinated population.
If cruising can satisfy regulators with COVID-safe protocols, why not give the industry a chance to resume domestic cruises?