PORTS Australia and the Cruise Lines International Association are calling for the federal government to lift a ban on cruise shipping in Australian waters.

The ban was one of the measures aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19, the Ruby Princess cruise ship in Sydney famously contributing to the spread of the virus.

But speaking to 2GB Radio’s Joe Hildebrand, CLIA managing director Joel Katz and Ports Australia CEO Mike Gallacher argued that with the virus in check in this part of the world, it was time to unleash the economic potential of cruise.

“Our passengers are saying out loud that they want to get back to sea again as soon as they can,” Mr Katz told his sympathetic host.

“We believe Australia’s success in getting the virus under control really creates the opportunity for some domestic cruising.

“We have some amazing communities all around the country and those regional destinations are crying out for visitors.”

Mr Gallacher said there were “regional communities right around the country screaming out for these vessels to return, particularly in the domestic market”.

“Industry internationally is working with governments around the clock so the protocols are in place to ensure safe passage,” he said.

“We’ve got thousands of people who rely on these vessels… in regional ports right around the country and that market is growing.”

Mr Gallacher said local communities from Geraldton to Cairns should be saying “we need these vessels back”.

He also talked of needing to “get a wiggle on” to ensure the Australian cruise sector continued to be an important part of the Pacific market and “start to rebuild that trust and relationship”.