Cruise industry calls on Government to lift travel ban - THE TELEGRAPH
NOVEMBER 12, 2020
BY Benjamin Parker
The UK Government is being urged to axe its ban on ocean-going cruises by the largest cruise industry trade body, which represents major lines such as Royal Caribbean and Carnival UK.
This is the first time that Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has publicly called for the move, having previously insisted they were working with various government agencies in a bid to secure the safe resumption of cruising “only when the time is right”.
But now it is calling for cruising to be treated in “line with the rest of the transport industry” in an effort to protect thousands of jobs and support wider economic benefits.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) clarified its guidance in July, warning British nationals against any sea-going cruise ship travel – even if the ship doesn’t leave British waters. It subsequently clarified that river cruises were exempt from this advice.
Andy Harmer, CLIA's UK and Ireland director, said: “CLIA and its cruise line members are working collaboratively with government and health authorities as we plan the safe resumption of cruise operations at the appropriate time based on new safety protocols.
“We are supportive of the government’s wider travel advice, but are now calling for the removal of FCDO’s specific ban on cruising to bring us into line with the rest of the transport industry. That will allow customers to book with confidence again, as well as helping to protect the 88,000 jobs and £10 billion in annual revenue cruising contributes to the UK economy.”
CLIA’s comments come less than two weeks after cruise operators in the US were issued with guidance on a conditional return, as a health authority dropped the ‘no-sail’ order that had been in place since the surge of the coronavirus pandemic in March.
And yesterday the travel industry was boosted by news of a breakthrough in trials for a Covid-19 vaccine, which cruise expert Dave Monk believes could be “huge boost for the cruise sector”.
Jo Rzymowska, the UK managing director of Celebrity Cruises, said earlier today: "We understand this is a pandemic. We understand the health and safety of consumers is paramount, however don't treat cruise any differently to the whole of the rest of the industry.”
Reports emerged this morning that ministers were working to allow cruise ships to sail around the British coast as early as January 2021, with the travel advice changing after a successful restart, however The Telegraph understands that nothing has been confirmed.