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Federal Government's April 17 end to bio ban on cruise great news

15 March 2022: AFTA on behalf of Australia’s travel agents and businesses and our customers and clients thanks the Federal Government for its decision to allow international cruise ships to return with the end to the Biosecurity Act 2015 ban.

To allow the sector and Australians to start planning and booking their cruise holidays, and to avoid any further disappointments we now need clarification from the State and Territory Governments on their openness to also allowing cruise ships back.

Quotes attributable to AFTA CEO Dean Long (who is available for interview)
“On behalf of Australia’s travel agents and professionals and all the customers and clients we support, we thank Federal Tourism Minister the Hon Dan Tehan, the Minister for Health the Hon Greg Hunt and the Minister for Home Affairs the Hon Karen Andrews and the Federal Government for listening.”

“We now need the State and Territory Governments to tell us whether they are open to welcome cruise ships back from April 17 when the ban under the Biosecurity Act expires. Given international cruise ships must meet all state and territory public health requirements to be able to berth, clarity is needed before the real planning of getting ships back here can begin.”

“Even if everything lines up and the States and Territory Governments also green light the return of cruise, it’s going to take a couple of months for the ships to get here.”

“International travel including cruise is not going to be anywhere close to normal before late 2022 and the Travel Sector needs ongoing Government support until that happens. Now more than ever Australians are relying on their travel experts for support and to help manage the up to $6 Billion in credits for COVID-impacted travel."

The impact of COVID on Australia’s Travel Agents and Sector

  • Australia’s travel agents and businesses have been in hard lockdown economically for close to 700 days due to international travel and cruising representing the bulk of revenue for most agencies
  • With international travelling only normalising in the second half of 2022, these two financial quarters are the toughest the sector has ever faced
  • The current asks include the distribution of the outstanding $74 million approved for the sector as part of the $258 million COVID-19 Consumer Travel Support Program
  • A survey of AFTA members shows revenue for Jan 22 is down 96% from Jan 30, compounding the 80% decline experienced in FY21. On average 51% of all travel businesses’ work is assisting clients to use travel credits for COVID-affected travel

Media Contact: LJ Loch 0488038555 lj.loch@afta.com.au