LOCAL cruising’s peak industry body, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia has launched a video campaign that highlights the economic impact on industry partners.

An Indigenous tour operator from the Kimberley is among Australian businesses voicing their support for a carefully planned revival of cruise operations in a new video series launched by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

Based on the north-west Kimberley coast, Wijingarra Tours is among thousands of Australian businesses impacted by the suspension of cruising, having been forced to cancel its 2020 tour season due to a lack of cruise visitors.

The company is the latest to be featured in CLIA’s #WeAreCruise video series, which highlights the economic impact suffered by local businesses and the 25,000 jobs that are at risk across Australasia while the cruise industry remains at anchor.

In a video released today, Wijingarra guide Naomi explains her company’s role in welcoming visitors to her country and the impact the cruise suspension has had on her operations.

“We didn’t have any work this year, so we lost everything – all our tours and half a million dollars in revenue,” she says in the video.

CLIA Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz said cruise lines had committed to extensive new health measures to support future operations, and that it was now vital to plan for a phased and carefully controlled resumption of local cruising.

“Thousands of jobs are at risk in communities around Australia and New Zealand, including in remote communities where expedition cruises are an important source of international tourism,” Mr Katz said. “While the suspension of cruising has been the right response to COVID-19, it’s important that we plan a pathway towards resumption with extensive health measures in place, so that we can restore economic opportunities to regional areas and remote communities around our coast.”

The Wijingarra Tours video is one of several to be released on social media in coming weeks as part of a campaign that aims to raise awareness and tell the personal stories of people within the Australasian cruise community.

“Given our region’s success in stemming the transmission of COVID-19, we see an opportunity for a controlled reintroduction of domestic cruises - restricted to local residents only and with extensive testing and screening measures in place,” Mr Katz said. “This will involve protective protocols against outside infection while borders are closed, and will create opportunities for economic revival for local businesses.”

The video can be viewed on YouTube and Facebook.