(4:29 a.m. AEST) -- The Australian government is signalling travel will once again be on the table for Aussies looking to vacation at home and abroad, but domestic cruises in Australian waters still remain in limbo.
The ban on international travel for fully-vaccinated Australians is set to be lifted in November after having been in place since March of 2020. The new relaxed restrictions do not, however, apply to Australia's cruise industry, which has been shuttered for almost two years.
Joel Katz, managing director, Australasia, with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), stated the safe resumption of cruise around the world should provide confidence to the Australian government that cruise can safely resume in domestic waters.
"The health protocols introduced overseas are working and we need an opportunity to introduce them in Australia so we can plan a careful and responsible recovery."
Regarding the continued lack of support for Australia's cruise industry from government officials, Katz did not mince words.
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"Australia is now one of the only major cruise markets in the world with no clear plan for cruising's revival," said Katz. "Australians love to cruise, but we now face the ridiculous possibility that we will be able to travel overseas to take a cruise but won't be able to sail in our own waters."
In June, Clia collected more than 40,000 signatures in favor of restarting cruise in Australia as part of a campaign to pressure parliament to restart cruise.
Numerous cruise lines have already scrapped their entire 2021-2022 Australia and New Zealand cruise programmes, while domestic big-ship operators like P&O Cruises Australia have already paused operations into mid-January 2022 and have cancelled all summer holiday voyages at Christmas and New Year's.
In a rare piece of good news for the beleaguered industry, Celebrity Cruises conformed it would send Celebrity Edge Down Under for the winter 2023/2024 season.
Australia's human biosecurity emergency period, in effect from March 18, 2020, has been extended into December 2021.