(2:50 a.m. AEST) -- Over 40,000 signatures in favor of restarting cruise in Australia have been collected as part of a campaign by the Cruise Lines International Association Australasia.
The "Ready, Set, Sail" campaign launched by CLIA Australasia resulted in more than 40,000 messages being sent to Australian MPs at the state and federal level in support of Australia's beleaguered cruise industry, which has been shuttered since March 2020 to most operators.
"Australia has always been one of the world’s most passionate cruise markets, and the number of supporters who have joined our campaign is a sign of that passion," said CLIA Australasia managing director Joel Katz.
The CLIA Australasia campaign targeted travel agents, industry stakeholders and members of Australia's cruise community. Katz noted more than 18,000 people are directly or indirectly employed by the cruise industry in Australia.
"There can no longer be any doubt about how extensive the Australian cruise community is, so we will work hard to maintain the momentum and ensure MP's know how important cruising is to the Australian economy," said Katz.
Despite this, the Australian government continues to hammer down on the cruise industry, extending its ban on the majority of cruise ships within Australian waters until September 17, 2021.
Most cruise operators, including P&O Australia, have already pushed back their return-to-service dates until at least September 17. Some, however, like Cunard Line, have chosen to cancel their upcoming 2021-2022 cruises to and from Australian ports of call in favor of sending ships elsewhere.
Only a handful of home grown lines with small ships such as Coral Expeditions are being allowed to operate in Australia waters.