After more than two years of being barred from entering Australian seas as a result of COVID-19, international cruise ships will be permitted to re-enter the country.
The Federal Government confirmed today that the restriction would be lifted effective April 17, after anticipation earlier this week that an announcement would be made.
Industry executives expressed delight at the announcement, which they claimed will sustain 18,000 employment. According to them, the restriction has cost the economy $10 billion dollars.
Joel Katz, Managing Director of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) in Australasia, described the announcement as “a significant step forward.”
This is a significant step forward for the more than 18,000 Australians who rely on cruise tourism, including travel agents and tour operators, food and product providers and entertainers, port personnel and a wide range of other sector suppliers, according to Mr. Healy.
In the midst of the epidemic, more than eight million individuals have already traveled to other areas of the globe, according to him.
Sailing will be prohibited without the proper vaccinations, and COVID-19 testing will be in place.
MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: The Premier urges on the cruise industry to resume operations “as soon as we are able.”
“Cruising has altered dramatically as a consequence of the pandemic, and the collaboration between our industry and medical professionals throughout the globe has resulted in health procedures that are among the most comprehensive found elsewhere in the world of tourism,” he added.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said that the decision to let the ban to expire was based on medical advice, and that it is now up to individual states to reopen ports.
In a statement, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that lifting the cruise ban “is consistent with reopening of Australia’s international border” and “demonstrates that we have successfully navigated Australia’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.” Mr Hunt said that the cruise ban was lifted on the basis of medical advice and with National Cabinet approval.
Passengers will be double-vaccinated aboard ships, and procedures will be “enhanced” in regard to COVID-19, according to the new rules.
Mr Katz, on the other hand, warned of lengthy wait periods for ships to be returned.
It was announced that P&O would be ready to cruise by the end of May. However, several sailings later in the year have been cancelled due to low demand.
“The uncertainty of the previous two years has been replaced with optimism and a conviction that the removal of the cruise prohibition will, at long last, herald the restoration of cruise operations in Australia,” Carnival and P&O Cruises President Marguerite Fitzgerald said in a joint statement.
Guests on board another cruise company, Royal Caribbean, have been told that they would not be able to board their ships in Sydney until at least October, with the first ship scheduled to arrive in Brisbane in November.
According to a spokesperson, “we are thrilled that, after two years, we now have an authorized method to engage with state governments to identify the roadmap for a safe return.”