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WTO, International Maritime Organization Highlight Cruise Tourism Value

In a joint statement, the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO) highlighted the importance of the cruise sector’s restart to the global economy. 

According to industry data, the cruise sector supports 1.2 million jobs and contributes $150 billion to the global economy every year. In addition, the two groups stressed that “tourism is vitally important for small island states where it sustains millions of livelihoods and brings substantial socio-economic benefits.”

The two agencies also recognized the efforts made by the cruise industry, countries and international organizations to protect the safety, health and well-being of passengers and crew, as well as the health of the population of destination ports. They added, “since cruise operations were suspended worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry has been reviewing and enhancing its protocols to identify ways to go further in protecting the health of passengers, crew and the general public.”

The joint statement invited governments to use the COVID-19 guidance on the gradual and safe resumption of operations of cruise ships in the European Union to help foster recovery of the cruise sector under safe conditions.

They cited three available documents (operator framework, passenger framework and seafarer framework) developed by the United Kingdom’s Chamber of Shipping, together with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

IMO and UNWTO emphasized that resuming cruise ship operations will also benefit the wider maritime community, since passenger ships participate in the automated mutual-assistance vessel rescue (AMVER) and are often requested by rescue coordination centers to offer assistance to ships in distress at sea.

“IMO and UNWTO also reiterate their call to governments to designate all seafarers and marine personnel as key workers and remove any barriers to crew changes,” the statement said. 

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