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WASHINGTON, D.C. — CLIA has issued a statement responding to speculation that the U.S. government could take action to restrict the cruise industry amid the coronavirus outbreak.
“Any action to restrict cruising is unwarranted, and at odds with the World Health Organization which ‘continues to advise against the application of travel or trade restrictions to countries experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks’,” reads the statement.
CLIA adds: “Singling out the travel and tourism industry, and cruise lines specifically, will have significant detrimental impacts – some possibly irreversible – on the national and local economies.”
Any restrictions on the cruise industry will have a knock-on effect on other segments of the travel industry and beyond, argues CLIA. “Cruise activity supports travel agencies, airlines, hotels and a broad supply chain of industries that stretches across the United States. With the proactive measures in place by the cruise industry based on prevailing guidance from global health authorities, restricting cruising is unreasonable and will have long-lasting detrimental effects on the U.S. economy well beyond the travel and tourism industry.”
CLIA’s statement comes as the cruise industry is back in the consumer news cycle with Grand Princess anchored off the coast of California. Some 3,533 Grand Princess passengers and crew onboard are awaiting word after several dozen passengers were tested for the coronavirus. All passengers including 235 Canadians are quarantined in their cabins until further notice. The world watched in February as Diamond Princess was quarantined off the coast of Japan.
According to wire service Reuters, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is set to meet with cruise industry executives this weekend to discuss strategies amid the coronavirus.
Reuters says officials close to the discussions say the Trump administration could take steps to bring in temporary restrictions for cruising, or discourage U.S. travellers from cruising as the coronavirus outbreak continues.
Over the years increasingly rampant travel advisories from the U.S. Department of State have had profoundly negative effects on destinations, and any warnings from the U.S. government when it comes to cruising, even if those warnings only apply to U.S. travellers, would have a crippling effect on the cruise industry as a whole. Any temporary suspension of cruise departures in or out of the U.S. would also impact cruise passengers worldwide.