A potential five-year ban on large cruise ships has proven to be upsetting to local businesses, residents and avid cruisers alike.

George van Deventer, owner of Tours Around Tasmania in Hobart, says the cruise ship shut down during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic “decimated” his business.

“The entire business was based on cruise ships,” he tells Cruise Passenger “Ninety-five percent of business was from cruise passengers.”

He has already needed to evolve his business to accommodate fewer tourists in Tasmania, but is looking forward to the return of ships in his city.

“It’s a long time coming. The industry has been waiting for this for a long time.”

However, he says he does trust the government’s decisions and, as if the ban does go ahead, as long as some ships are coming in, he believes his business will continue to thrive.

The ban would be on ships carrying 5,000 passengers or more. Smaller ships, including all of the ones scheduled to dock in Hobart until the end of 2022, are still going to be permitted to dock.

Currently, there are no ships that size sailing in Australia, but new ships from companies like Royal Caribbean are getting larger and larger. With the ever-evolving industry, they very well could in the coming years.

We had dozens of comments on a recent post sharing the news that the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania (TICT) is calling for large ships to be banned from docking at the state’s ports.

According to Tourism Tasmania, direct spend from cruise ship passengers and crew in the state is about $48.7 million in the 2019/2020 season. This figure doesn’t include port fees.

“Cruise ships will once again be welcomed back to our shores, providing a welcome boost to local businesses and our economy after nearly three years without,” a spokesperson from the tourism board said.

The picturesque suburb of Mount Nelson overlooks the Derwent River and the city of Hobart. Resident Donna Robinson loves watching the cruise ships come in. “It’s such a wonderful sight.”

An active traveller and cruiser herself, she says: “it always feels good seeing so many people enjoying themselves and coming into our little city to see for themselves how beautiful it is.”

Fan of Princess Cruises and booked for her next one in Tasmania in November, Veronica McDonald says she’s “not happy with the ban at all”.

“Tassie is such a beautiful place to visit.”

“I think it is very sad to hear there may be a ban on these ships as this will affect our tourism industry,” she says. “I would hate to see that as I want to share the joy we have of the beauty and fun of Tasmania.”

“People may think we are a bit behind the times and may not want to come here and may tell others the same (as word of mouth is a huge advertisement). I would hate to see that as I want to share the joy we have of the beauty and fun of Tasmania.”

“It does wonders for our city and state, helps our economy as we don’t have a lot of industry here, and it lets the world know we are here.”

On the contrary, Devonport resident Garry Bourke sides with the TICT on this one. “Our facilities and infrastructure can not handle such large numbers all in one day.”

A small town of 20,000 on Tasmania’s north coast, Burnie’s population could swell by 20-25% if a ship comes into town.

But it’s not just his local area he’s concerned about. Outside of Hobart, other regional ports – such as Wineglass Bay and Port Arthur – he feels could strain under the weight of a mega ship.

“The beach and water at [Wineglass Bay] will not be pristine if thousands of visitors are allowed to be dropped off at the front door. What makes the Bay more attractive is the walks that you have to do to get there.”

He also feels shiploads and busloads of tourists can reduce the significance of Port Arthur as a place of reflection.

For now, the ban is yet to be approved and no cruises scheduled for the 2022 season are currently affected.