Boris Johnson’s voice of support of the UK cruise sector has been welcomed by trade body Clia.

The prime minister pledged to back the cruise industry’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic “in any way that we can”.

He was responding to a question by a Southampton-based journalist at Wednesday’s daily coronavirus briefing about what the government was doing to protect jobs in the sector.

Cunard and P&O Cruises parent company Carnival UK started a consultation almost a month ago through which about 500 jobs are at risk – many of which would be based in the port city.

P&O Cruises has suspended sailings until mid-October and Cunard until November as the cruise industry seeks to recover from a global shutdown of sailings.

Clia UK & Ireland director Andy Harmer said: “The prime minister’s words of support for the cruise industry are very welcome.

“The cruise industry voluntarily suspended operations as it was the right thing to do while the world addressed the global health crisis.

“However, the impact of this suspension is being felt heavily not only by cruise lines but by people whose livelihoods depend upon the cruise industry, such as travel agents, tour operators, taxi drivers, and hoteliers.”

He added: “As the prime minister has said, the cruise industry is a ‘great British industry’.

“The industry generates £10 billion to the U.K. economy each year.

“It is also a resilient industry. We are currently working closely with the government, health authorities and ports to develop even more enhanced health protocols as we plan for the future resumption of operations.

“We look forward to playing our part in the country’s economic recovery.”