Australia to lift cruise ban next month

Prior to the pandemic, the country received more than 600,000 cruise ship passengers from nearly 350 vessels

Prior to the pandemic, the country received more than 600,000 cruise ship passengers from nearly 350 vessels. Javen/Shutterstock

The Australian Government announced today, 15 March, that it will not renew the ban on international cruise ships arriving and departing from Australian ports when it expires on 17 April, according to the Department of Health

The government prohibited large international cruise vessels from entering Australia under the Biosecurity Act 2015 in March 2020.

“On the basis of medical advice and with the agreement of National Cabinet, lifting the cruise ban is consistent with the reopening of Australia’s international border and shows that we have successfully navigated Australia’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt.

Prior to the pandemic, the country received more than 600,000 cruise ship passengers from nearly 350 vessels, according to Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews. As a result, cruise ships play a huge role in Australia’s tourism sector, and will be important for the country’s economic recovery post-pandemic.

More: Australia welcomes its first wave of international visitors

According to 9News, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz reportedly said, “Today’s announcement is a huge breakthrough for more than 18,000 Australians who depend on cruise tourism, including travel agents, tour operators, food and produce providers, entertainers, port workers, and many other industry suppliers.”

Katz, however, warned that there would be long lead times in getting ships back.

Cruise line P&O will be ready to cruise by the end of May, but has cancelled more sailings later in the year. Royal Caribbean confirmed that guests would not be boarding their ships in Sydney until October, with the first due in Brisbane in November.

In an effort to reduce the risk of the emergence and spread of COVID-19 in Australian territory, additional measures will be implemented upon entry. These include the double vaccination of passengers, stress testing the cruises’ emergency response systems, and touching base with the cruise industry regarding the safe resumption of operations.

The Property Report editors wrote this article. For more information, email: [email protected].

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