The global cruise industry has been set a challenge to speak with one voice to governments to fight visa bureaucracy and prevent more taxation.

The call came from World Travel & Tourism Council chief executive and president David Scowsill at the annual Cruise Shipping Miami conference.

He urged the cruise industry to come together with other sectors in travel to ensure visa processing and taxes, which support growth, remain high on governments’ agendas.

“The cruise industry needs to play its part in fighting visa bureaucracy and deterring more taxation,” he said.

“Visa processes are needed which are transparent, cost effective and streamlined to enable travellers to move around the world quickly, efficiently and with minimum hassle.

“The cruise sector is looking to open up new markets including China, where a growing middle class is expressing a desire to cruise and see the world.

“Lengthy and complicated visa processes for potential Chinese, Russian and Indian passengers will hamper that growth.”

He said that world leaders are beginning to get the message “but governments need to understand how much revenue they are missing out on by not having progressive visa policies”.

Scowsill added: “Rampant taxation in the aviation sector in most parts of the world demonstrates that governments view passengers as a revenue source rather than a revenue generator.

“I’m asking the cruise sector to play their part in ensuring that taxes stimulate growth, rather than thwart it.”

Connectivity with other sectors is vital, he said, calling on cruise companies to play their part in sustainable growth.

“I know that the cruise industry is inextricably linked to the environment and you are dedicated to preserving the marine life and oceans upon which your ships sail.

“Cruise Lines International Association members have adopted aggressive programmes of waste minimisation, waste reuse and waste stream management. I ask you to continue with valuable policies such as these and play your part in finding the right balance between people, planet and profits.”