The tourism industry continues to urge the White House and the CDC to announce a timetable for reopening, citing the impact on business and the strict security protocols in place.
Prior to the COWID-19 pandemic, the two busiest cruise ports in the world were in the United States, namely: Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Kirby said in a statement on the cruise industry. Huge investments by cruise lines in new amenities, onboard entertainment and many other services have made cruise ships a destination in themselves and led to record passenger numbers in the years leading up to 2020. Already among the busiest in the world, these ports have also undergone major renovations and expansions in recent years, which have helped create hundreds of thousands of jobs in South Florida and across the country. Travel agents traded for $12.3 billion in 2019. The 18,360 cruise ships the company sells directly create 86,360 jobs in the US.
Mr. Kirby further said that there appears to be no reason to delay the relaunch of sailing vessels in the United States.
While maintaining the necessary camouflage and social distance, almost all other forms of human activity were allowed to resume, including eating in restaurants, attending movies and sporting events, sleeping in hotels, and traveling by air. Yet the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) inexplicably continues to suspend all cruise ships in U.S. waters in the current phase of its conditional sailing order concept, he writes.
Kerby said the restrictions are especially unwarranted because the number of vaccinations is increasing and those vaccinated do not appear to be spreading the virus.
Moreover, at least two cruise lines are now planning to bypass US ports by sending their ships elsewhere to continue their cruises.
It is clear that companies are forced to take alternative measures when legal, regulatory and diplomatic solutions fail, he said.
Research by ASTA shows that many Americans are getting vaccinated for travel, and 87 percent of them are planning a summer trip. Many are also eager to return to the sea: Seventy percent said they were ready for a cruise.
We expect that Americans who are ready to take a cruise will now begin their trip with a flight to the Caribbean instead of going directly to Miami or Fort Lauderdale, Kirby said. Recognizing that vaccination rates are rising while infection and mortality rates are falling, these forward-thinking Caribbean islands are now home to some of the largest cruise ships in the world. Instead, the CDC continues to passively stand by and lift cruise restrictions that threaten livelihoods and communities in South Florida, the de facto cruise capital of the world, and far beyond. It is unfortunate that the intransigence of the CDC has brought us to this point.
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