Meanwhile, CLIA has welcomed plans for a phased reopening of New Zealand’s borders as a positive step forward for the tourism sector, but says provisions for a careful resumption of local cruising should be included to help revive New Zealand jobs and businesses. Responding to the New Zealand Government’s announcement on future Covid-19 measures and a phased opening of borders, Katz told New Zealand would also need an agreed framework to support tightly managed local cruise operations, beginning initially with domestic sailings or itineraries between New Zealand and Australia. “As New Zealand plans for its reopening, we need to discuss how to implement these health protocols locally so that we’re ready for a careful revival of cruising as soon as conditions allow,” he said. Cruising is ordinarily worth around NZ$570 million a year to the New Zealand economy and supports thousands of local jobs, including in many regional locations around the country. “This is a vital part of the New Zealand tourism economy, so we need to partner with government and work towards its revival,” continued Katz. “It’s not a matter of simply opening the doors – we need to agree on detailed plans for a carefully controlled resumption that starts small and moves forward in a way that works for New Zealand.”
CRUISE INDUSTRY UNITES TO DISCUSS VISION FOR RECOVERY More than 800 cruise industry supporters from across Australia, New Zealand and Asia gathered online in August for a key forum on cruising’s path to recovery in the region, hosted by CLIA. The event was held in lieu of CLIA’s annual Cruise360 Australasia conference, which was postponed due to an ongoing Covid-19 outbreak in Sydney, and brought together industry leaders from across the region and overseas. Among international speakers were CLIA’s Global President and CEO Kelly Craighead; MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato; Regent Seven Seas Cruises President & CEO Jason Montague; and Cruise Critic Editor-inChief Colleen McDaniel. In a State-of-the-Industry opening session, CLIA’s Kelly Craighead outlined the industry’s response to the global pandemic and its success in implementing the detailed new health protocols that have allowed cruising’s resumption in many parts of the world. “Really, this has been done in partnership with destinations, with authorities at all levels,” said Craighead. “It’s the public-private partnership, and the cooperation, and the dialogue, that has proven successful around the globe.” Craighead continued that close engagement with governments would also be the key to achieving resumption in other countries, including Australia, New Zealand, and parts of Asia. “We do have to learn the lesson from the other markets, and probably the number one lesson is you only move forward when government and industry collaborate with one another,” she said. Royal Caribbean Vice President & Managing Director Australia & New Zealand Gavin Smith said more detailed discussions with governments were needed to achieve a resumption of cruising in Australia and New Zealand. “Our main request to government at the moment is everybody’s got a job to do – let’s not get distracted by the potential extension of the border closures, but we need to sit together and agree this framework to restart,” said Smith, who is CLIA’s Chair in Australasia.
“We’ve got to agree quarantine issues, the crew vaccination, testing, ventilation, isolation, evacuation, health reporting – there are a lot of issues that we’ve got to agree,” he continued. “So our advocacy is for those discussions to start now, not wait until December until we’re arguing about the next extension of the border closures. Let’s have that debate now.” Another of the forum’s sessions addressed how the cruise sector is working to rebuild confidence, with Cruise Critic’s Colleen McDaniel sharing data on cruise passengers and their largely positive sentiment towards cruising’s revival. She was joined Regent Seven Seas’ Jason Montague, Royal Caribbean’s Vice President Asia Pacific Angie Stephen, and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection Vice President Field Sales - North America Michelle Palma, who explained how cruise lines are rebuilding consumer confidence as they resume sailing. A key session at the forum examined three pioneering regions of the world where cruising has resumed and looked at the partnerships that led to their success. The panel involved MSC Cruises CEO Gianni Onorato, who explained the health measures and processes that had allowed his line’s resumption in Italy and the Mediterranean, as well as CLIA’s Managing Director for UK & Ireland Andy Harmer, who looked at the UK’s shift in focus to a domestic market. Singapore Tourism Board’s Director of Cruise Development Annie Chang explained how a government-industry partnership had driven the country’s early revival of cruising within a local bubble. Other speakers at the forum included the President of Carnival Australia Sture Myrmell; the Chairman Asia Pacif ic of Ponant Yacht Cruises & Expeditions Sarina Bratton; the Vice President & Managing Director of Norwegian Cruise Line Asia-Pacif ic Ben Angell; and the Senior Vice President of Global Operations for Virtuoso Michael Londregan. THIRD QUARTER 2021 | TRAVEL & CRUISE 29