The cruise industry will be lobbying president Joe Biden’s new administration to highlight the sector’s vital importance to the economy and jobs.
Biden’s inauguration took place today, a day after Clia’s global president and chief executive Kelly Craighead recorded a Travel Weekly webcast, when she said she is looking forward to demonstrating how cruises are an “economic generator”.
Clia represents almost 50,000 travel agents in North America and there are more than 421,000 cruise industry jobs in the US, she noted, speaking from Washington DC ahead of the inauguration.
“These businesses are really a big part of Clia’s focus, as we look to a new congress that has come in, and a new president,” she said.
“All of these small and medium-sized businesses, these travel agents, are so dependent on the cruise industry being successful.
“As soon as there’s an opportunity for us to weigh in on their behalf in any of the relief packages that might be moving, it will be a top priority for us.”
Clia is also working with health authorities and legislators to ensure its Covid-19 protocols can pave the way for the resumption of sailing.
“We’re looking forward to really demonstrating our commitment to putting people first and to demonstrating the effectiveness of this comprehensive approach to enhanced health and safety measures – and demonstrating how you can do both: provide for the public health and be an economic generator,” she said.
“We are very, very much looking forward to the year ahead.”
She said the US, like the UK, is seeing high rates of Covid-19 infections and lockdowns in “varying degrees” in different states.
“But we remain hopeful. Our cruise lines are in active conversation with the CDC [US Centers for Disease Control]…and we’re speaking with other governments to help shape and advise and point to some of the successful approaches like we’ve seen coming out of the EU with EU healthy gateways and Emsa [European Maritime Safety Agency].”
She added: “We were the very first industry to commit to 100% testing of passengers and crew before they got on a ship.
“Leading the way in travel and tourism is where the cruise industry wants to be.
“We have so much to point to and to demonstrate that, as a new government takes place in Washington, we look forward to the opportunity to really sharing that commitment and to working productively with them, again to solve and address one of the greatest health emergencies of our time.
“Health and safety first and then right back to business.”