New Zealand Cruise Association Chairman Debbie Summers and CEO Kevin O’Sullivan called on the government to allow the return of small luxury ships to offer New Zealand itineraries for New Zealanders.

Indefinite suspension

This follows the government’s decision this week to suspend the operation of cruise ships in New Zealand waters indefinitely.

The NZCA has asked members to contact Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis to support its catchcry — ‘Kiwi Cruising for Kiwis.’

Desperately needed support

Summers said there are cruise lines waiting to deploy ships to New Zealand, giving ‘desperately needed’ support for regional cities, towns and the countryside.

‘This is the exact restart we need,’ Summers said in a newsletter that has just gone out to members and stakeholders.

‘There is much appetite for such domestic cruising programmes and for the relief the spend will bring to regional New Zealand in particular.

‘We know that Kiwis love to cruise and right now our options for travel are severely limited like no other time in our history.’

Lost opportunity

Summers said not putting in place ‘Kiwi Cruising for Kiwis’ would be a ‘lost opportunity.’