ABC – By Liam Fox on Pacific Beat
There is disappointment but little surprise to the news that the major cruise company touring the Pacific will re-route nearly all of its 2021 cruises.
The Australian government recently announced it will extend its ban on outgoing international travel and cruise ships for another three months until late March.
Amid the uncertainty, Carnival Cruises, which is one of the region’s biggest cruise ship operators, has revealed it has re-routed nearly all of the Pacific voyages it had planned for next year.
Carnival Cruises sails from Australia to New Caledonia and Vanuatu but its Australian vice president Jennifer Vanderkreeke told the ABC the majority of its 2021 cruises will instead go to Queensland.
“Almost all the cruises that we changed, except for one, are now going to go to Queensland,” she said.
In a statement to the ABC, Carnival said “we have the ultimate respect for our friends in the Pacific and will naturally only visit if the respective governments and communities are ready and willing to welcome tourists.”
“If not, we obviously won’t go”.
Glen Craig, the chairman of the Vanuatu Business Resilience Council, said that while the announcement was expected, it’s still disappointing.
“It’s just another bit of wrench to the system here”.
Mr Craig said business turnover in Vanuatu is down between 35 to 45 per cent on average and most have survived to this point because banks have given them holiday on loan repayments.
“That can’t carry on forever and the frightening thing is that in January, we expect the banks will be forced to actually put those things in place and we’re going to see more job losses”.
He estimates around 3500 people have been left without work since borders were closed earlier this year because of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Duration: 7min 1sec Broadcast: Mon 14 Dec 2020, 7:00am