Cruise industry seeks to stay afloat in a pandemic-scarred world
Many cruise operators are planning a gradual return to sailing, with a watchful eye on the China market and new global outbreaks of Covid-19.
Domestic tourism in China is showing a strong recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, but its spill-over effect on the cruise industry has yet to be tested.
“Though impacted heavily by the COVID-19 outbreak, the nature of people to pursue social togetherness and the huge potential of the cruise industry will not be reversed by the pandemic,” said Liu Zinan, chairman of Royal Caribbean Cruises Asia. “Cruises are a driving force of the tourism industry.”
Cruise ships around the world were the sites of the earliest clusters of infection earlier this year, forcing cruise operators to shut down operations and countries to close their ports of welcome. A new wave of novel coronavirus infections sweeping the US and Europe won’t help consumer confidence in the short run.
A recent report in Britain’s Daily Mail showed photos of five large cruise vessels from the US, Britain and Italy crammed into a dock at a Turkish break-up yard awaiting dismantling for scrap metal. Carnival Corp has announced it is removing 13 ships from its fleets this year.
Shanghai officials, however, remain upbeat about the future of the industry once the world emerges from the pandemic. China was the largest emerging cruise liner market before COVID-19 struck.
To allay consumer fears, cruise ship companies and terminals are going all out to demonstrate steps they are taking to ensure the health and safety of passengers.
Read more at Shanghai Daily
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