The Federal Government has officially announced they will not renew the long-standing cruise ships ban in Australia, with the ban scheduled to lift on April 17, 2022.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Australia, Dan Tehan, alongside Minister for Home Affairs, Karen Andrews and Minister for Health and Aged Care, Greg Hunt, have released a statement on March 15, confirming the decision. Their statement also spoke to a list of new measures in place to manage the risk of Covid-19 transmission and ensure overall safety and wellbeing of cruise ship passengers and staff.
In the statement, Hunt revealed that the appropriate medical and legal steps had been taken for Australia to proceed with lifting the cruise ban.
“On the basis of medical advice and with the agreement of National Cabinet, lifting the cruise ban is consistent with the reopening of Australia’s international border and shows that we have successfully navigated Australia’s emergency response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Hunt.
Tehan described the news as “another key step forward” in reviving Australia’s tourism sector which has suffered immensely with the outbreak of Covid-19 and its devastating effects on the country’s economy.
“This is great news for the cruise industry, tourism, the broader economy and the Australians who love to take a cruise holiday,” said Tehan.
“The resumption of cruising is another key step forward in the tourism sector’s recovery from Covid-19.”
In an official media release issued to the general public today, March 15, the Australian Government detailed the additional measures introduced to international cruises to ensure passenger health and safety.
The measures included, enhanced pre-arrival reporting and identification of COVID-19 risk through more questions of passengers and improved processes, stress testing of the emergency response system in relation to cruises and proof of double vaccination.
According to the statement, 94 per cent of Australians over 16 years of age had already been double vaccinated, with 12 million Australians triple vaxxed.
Earlier this month, Tehan told Sky News that a formal announcement would soon be made to confirm the reopening of cruising in Australia, revealing that “the Commonwealth was ready to go”.
Despite this, managing director of Cruise Lines International Association Australasia (CLIA), Joel Katz, explained that the country was “waiting for the government to develop a set of national guidelines and the federal government is waiting for the state to take the lead in the cruise resumption”.
The country had originally imposed the ban on international cruise ships under the Biosecurity Act 2015 in response to the rapid global spread of Covid-19 and the increasing number of Covid-19 infections and deaths on cruise ships.
Travel at 60 is taking bookings for all major cruise lines with cruises expected to embark as early as May 2022. And more ships are expected to be diverted into Australia in coming days. Sign up for the Travel at 60 emailer to get access to new releases and amazing deals as they arrive.