Travel trade and tourism operators were last night clinging to at least some hope that PONANT’s domestic cruising season around New Zealand will take shape in one form or another.
Yesterday the cruise line was continuing to talk to Immigration NZ after its shock last minute decision to prevent Le Laperouse from coming to New Zealand – despite having the green light from the Ministry of Health. At the time of going to press it was believed a final decision would be made today.
The 2020-21 New Zealand cruise season continues to look grim, with about 40% of port calls in the country cancelled so far, according to NZ Cruise Association figures.
At the same time the number of expected cruise guests in the country over summer has already reduced by nearly 150,000 from the expected 384,000 plus.
Supply chain survival is one of the ‘New Zealand specific challenges’ highlighted by Debbie Summers in her NZ Cruise Association chairman’s report 2020.
‘Our members include retailers, wholesalers, tour operators, port agents, ground handlers, and hospitality – all part of a supply chain that is critical to the sector.
‘In a nutshell it is crucial we all do our best to hold tight, to survive, to ignore the naysayers, to harness our passion and the facts and go out there and fight for the return of our cruise industry,’ Summers told TRAVELinc Memo after the AGM.
In her report, Summers summarised the dire current situation for cruising and outlined a number of challenges to overcome. But she also touched on opportunities – including that cruise lines are looking keenly at our region for a safe and measured restart within our domestic arena. ‘We are talking about kiwi cruises for kiwis just as Air NZ has once again opened the skies for New Zealander’s to see their own country.
‘We can stimulate travel, starting with some really immersive itineraries.’
Summers points out that supply chain survival is largely reliant on borders. ‘We need safe corridors with countries with zero comunication (this is our Government’s indication on who we can do business with in the future) opening as soon as we are able.’
She says New Zealand is fortunate to have a close safe source market (‘heading that way at least’) in Australia. ‘One in 17 Australians like to cruise. They made up over 50% of our cruise market pre Covid 19.’
The New Zealand Cruise Association (NZCA) is continuing to lobby against the government’s decision to indefinitely continue the cruise ship ban, despite flight travel and crowded public events already being back on the table.
The New Zealand Cruise Association (NZCA) says it is imperative not to ‘waste the next month or two’ and wants close collaboration with government on what its expectations are from cruise – in the short, medium and longer terms.
The statement comes after the Prime Minister announced the continuing suspension of cruising in New Zealand until at least the end of September.
The New Zealand Cruise Association (NZCA) has called for the cruise industry to share stories about why cruise is important.
‘Talk to anybody and everybody using whatever media, social media outlet you are comfortable with,’ says CEO Kevin O’Sullivan. ‘The cruise industry in New Zealand will recover, but it needs your help.’
The record turn-out of more than 200 delegates at last week’s cruise conference was testament to the importance of the sector on New Zealand’s tourism revenue. International speakers, media and delegates joined domestic attendees from all over New Zealand representing transport, tour operators, hotels, cruise lines and ports.
- Amy Armstrong, Stamford Plaza Auckland;... Amy Armstrong, Stamford Plaza Auckland;...
- Mike Murphy, Intercity and Kate... Mike Murphy, Intercity and Kate...
- Bruce Krumrine, VP shore excursions... Bruce Krumrine, VP shore excursions...
- Lynley Martin, Skyline Skyrides Rotorua... Lynley Martin, Skyline Skyrides Rotorua...
- Tony Smith, Francis Travel Marketing... Tony Smith, Francis Travel Marketing...
- Mark Gilbert, Hassle-free Tours (centre)... Mark Gilbert, Hassle-free Tours (centre)...
- Gisborne tourism operator Dean Savage,... Gisborne tourism operator Dean Savage,...
Ensuring that new and innovative cruise tourism products and attractions are developed and regionally dispersed is one of the key strategies of the New Zealand Cruise Association over the next three years.
Deputy chair Karen Thompson-Smith presented the organisation’s three year strategic plan at its AGM last night and says cruise is ideal for getting people into regional destinations. ‘We also want to make sure passenger satisfaction ratings remain high for all our prts through sharing of best practice.’