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Shocked and delighted! Tourism Minister tells cruisers to get booking!

February 10, 2021 Cruise News, Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

There I was quietly watching Channel 9’s Today Show, something I rarely do, when I was shocked to hear our very own Aussie Minister for Tourism Dan Tehan espousing strongly in favour of a resumption of cruising and even better saying consumers should have no hesitation in making bookings.

I was shocked and at the same time delighted as what a turnaround that appeared to be from a very short time ago!

Feel free to check out the cruise elements of interview below with the whole interview actually on Minister Tehan’s web site and CLICK HERE to read it, but when Minister Tehan was asked by host Karl Stefanovic whether or not Australians should feel safe taking up the plethora of cruise offers in the market mentioning the context of the Ruby Princess, Minister Tehan said, “The cruise industry has done a lot of work to make sure that cruising now is COVID-safe,” adding, “They’ve put protocols in place, so people should be confident to be able to go and book cruises.”

With smaller cruise ships operating in Australia already, the Australian Government’s official Human Biosecurity Emergency Period, that banned the entry of foreign- flagged cruise ships into Australian waters, is in place for around six more weeks, until 17 March, 2021, having been extended by the Minister for Health Greg Hunt, but at that time Minister Hunt  said, “The government was working closely with the industry to develop a framework for the staged resumption of cruise ships in a manner that is proportionate to the public health risk”.

In addition, while it is very likely that cruising will soon return to Australia it will take some time for ships to be prepared and certified, repositioned and also crews secured and trained with in addition very likely that the initial cruises will be limited to domestic cruising, that is within Australia and even possibly initially within states.

We shall have to wait and see as except for this announcement by Minister Tehan, little is leaking out, so check out a transcript of what Minster Tehan had to say on the Today Show: –

Interview with Karl Stefanovic, Today Show

Transcript

Subjects: Support for the tourism sector, ‘Holiday Here This Year’ tourism campaign, Border closures

08 February 2021

 Karl Stefanovic: Some sectors are seeing record bookings, that’s the good news. Cut-price cruising is leading the charge, believe it or not. But industry leaders warn there is still an awful long way to go. Joining us now from Cairns in Far North Queensland is Minister for Tourism Dan Tehan. Dan, good morning to you.

For an industry crippled by this pandemic, there are welcome signs, aren’t there?

Dan Tehan: There are welcome signs, and yes, we’re seeing rebounding, as you said, when it comes to cruising, and also domestic tourism, especially within about three-hour drives of the cities, has really bounced back strongly.

And, if we could get some consistency around border closures, get a hotspot definition, that would really help confidence as well, and places like Port Douglas – where I was last night talking to tourism operators – and here in Cairns, will really bounce back as well. So, there are things that we can do to really support our tourism industry, and from the Commonwealth Government we want to make sure that we’re there helping and supporting them through this really difficult time at the moment.

Stefanovic: I’ll get to that in just a second. But, in relation to cruising, the Ruby Princess saga led to a major heartbreak here. Do Aussies, should Aussies feel safe taking up these offers now?

Tehan: Oh, well, the cruise industry has done a lot of work to make sure that cruising now is COVID safe.

They’ve put protocols in place, so people should be confident to be able to go and book cruises.

They also should be confident to be able to book, you know, wonderful vacations right across this nation, because we’ve got so many wonderful places to see – whether you’re doing it as part of a cruise around our coastline, or going to visit just the wonderful places right across the nation. I mean, our backyard is just a wonderful place to explore, and it’s why we put $5 million into that, you know, travel here in Australia campaign, to make sure people are making sure that during the COVID lockdown they’re getting out and exploring our nation.

Stefanovic: It’s a brilliant campaign. In terms of cruising, though, would you go on a cruise?

Tehan: Look, I’ve never been on a cruise and I think it’s something that I’ll explore doing once I finish this job. But, at the moment I’m sort of, it’s a bit hard to book a cruise with any certainty for me, because you’re never quite sure what you’ll be doing one day to the next.

Stefanovic: Good out, good out. Look, the reality is here, too, look you mentioned how businesses are struggling in Far North Queensland. I know that only too well. There’s a long way to go, isn’t there? JobKeeper ends in March. I think at last count, and correct me if I’m wrong, but there were more than 3,000 businesses, 3,000 businesses in Cairns alone utilising JobKeeper. What are you going to do for the shortfall there?

Tehan: Yeah, so, I’m up here talking to the industry. I was at Port Douglas last night. And, can I just say though, I was really pleased that you were broadcasting – I think your weather – from there this morning. You’re doing your bit. We want to make sure we continue to do our bit. So, I met with the operators up there. They told me their stories, what they think they need. I’m here in Cairns today. I’ll be talking to the industry here. I’ll be on the Gold Coast and the Whitsundays also this week, talking to the tourism operators there. I want to get a really good sense from on the ground of what they need, and then I’ll be taking that back to my colleagues and we’ll be looking to see what we do post-JobKeeper to help and support the tourism industry.

 Stefanovic: You seemed to be intimating last week that Annastacia Palaszczuk – and you know how incredibly popular she is in Queensland – you seemed to be intimating that she needs to do her bit in order to keep receiving the JobKeeper support. What exactly do you mean by that?

 Tehan: Well, what would be great is if all the state premiers and territory leaders could come together and we could get one single hotspot definition. Tourism Australia did a survey …

 Stefanovic: … But, isn’t that your job?

 Tehan: Well, that is my job, is to try and bring them together, but ultimately, they’ve got to be the decisionmakers, because ultimately, the responsibility for those decisions lies with every state and territory. So, what we want is a uniform hotspot definition right across the nation. Tourism Australia, their most recent survey, showed it’s not the COVID that is preventing people from travelling at the moment, it’s lack of confidence due to border closures. So, we have to address that, and that was something the Port Douglas tourism sector was telling me last night – please do everything you can to try and get this consistent approach around border closures, because that’s killing confidence and people wanting to travel, especially interstate, at the moment.

Stefanovic: Look, I wish you all the very best in supporting those businesses in Far North Queensland, businesses that rely a lot on international travel they just don’t have at the moment. So, whatever you can to help them through the next six months is going to be badly needed. Dan, always good to talk to you. Thanks for your time today. 

A report by John Alwyn-Jones

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. It is indeed great news that Dan Tehan is encouraging Australians to book cruises.
    I am just wondering whether he could also give us a date when midsize and big ships will actually be given government permission to resume operations?

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