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Monday 20 April 2020

Cruising will bounce back says travel industry heavyweight

The cruise industry has been among the hardest hit sectors of the travel business during the Covid-19 crisis - and many commentators have cast doubt on its long-term future. 

With the Ruby Princess (below) at the centre of the epidemic in Australia and oodles of poor publicity, cruise lines will need to work hard to regain consumer confidence when life returns to normal. 

It may seem like over-confidence, then, when HelloWorld Chief Executive Officer Andrew Burnes says he’s confident that despite the current negative publicity around cruising, the sector will return stronger than ever. 

Writing to members of Helloworld’s Australian travel agency networks, he warned that the re-emergence of international travel could be 9-12 months off, suggesting destinations such as New Zealand and possibly some South Pacific countries could be among the first to open up to Australians.

“I never thought I’d be looking forward so much to hearing someone say bula to me as I do now,” he joked. 

Asked whether cruise demand will return, Cruise Weekly reported Burnes as saying: “My answer is of course it will. 

"Cruise has proven to be one of the most popular sectors of the leisure travel industry in the world...the product is popular, well-priced and delivers an all-inclusive break that people enjoy”. 

Burnes said cruise companies will have to undertake significantly increased cleaning and disinfecting measures, as well as committing to much better on-board health facilities including immediate isolation capabilities, respirators and other near-ICU facilities, as well as stringent health checks for all embarking and disembarking passengers, and crew.

 “The cruise companies will address these issues over the next 12 months,” he said. “I firmly believe cruise will come back, most likely from mid-2021 and beyond, once the operators have sorted out their safety and health issues.” 

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