Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham, who has already warned Australians against cruising, has said it again – don’t book a cruise.
While many will sympathise with his message that local tourism businesses need the money more – 92 per cent of Cruise Passenger readers have said they will holiday at home as soon as they can.
But his constant repetition leaves some believing the minister might be in danger of appearing to be anti cruise.
While answering readers questions for the Northern Territory News , the minister yet again pulled no punches about what cruise passengers should be doing.
One questioner asked: My email inbox has been inundated with emails from cruise companies trying to sell me a cruise? Have cruise companies been given the green light to start cruising again? Will there be new guidelines for them to manage hygiene standards and do you think it would be risky to book a cruise?
Replied the minister: “No, cruise ships have not been given the green light yet and I would assume that cruise shipping will be one of the last activities to come back online. There were quite clearly failures in terms of public health management that contributed to the spread of COVID-19 on a number of cruise ships around the world.
“I believe health officials will be very cautious about giving a green light to cruise shipping anytime soon. The cruise industry not only has work to do to convince the health officials, but also to convince the public of their safety.
“Our tourism industry and our accommodation providers right across Australia are doing it so tough at present.
“Rather than booking a cruise I encourage all Australians to get in their cars and, when we can, on planes, trains and buses across Australia, to stay in local accommodation places, spend money in our towns, regions and cities to really help our many other tourism businesses.”
Earlier this year the Minister said, despite the $5.2 billion shot in the arm provided by cruise ships to the Australian economy, reinvigorating the industry will be a low priority when international travel restrictions are finally lifted.
“Cruise travel, you would expect to be sitting right towards the end if not the very last thing that is reactivated again, given the difficulties Australia has faced with the cruise sector,” he told the ABC.
What do you think?
We all agree our local tour operators should be helped, and our readers are ready to do so.
But should the Minister be fairer to the cruise industry?