(1:15 p.m. GMT) -- The Cruise Lines Industry Association has written to the government urging them to set up a clear timeline for the resumption of cruising from UK waters.
CLIA has urged the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office to remove its blanket advice against all ocean cruising during this "crucial" time of year -- so called "Wave Season", when lines put out their offers and deals and a huge number of bookings are usually made.
"While Government understands the importance of getting the industry sailing again, they must now set a timeline for a phased resumption of operations," said Andy Harmer, Cruise Lines International Association, Director UK & Ireland.
"For several months, the industry has worked collaboratively with Government to agree health protocols that go beyond any other travel sector operating today.
"As we head into 2021, our hope is that the Government will recognise our uncompromising commitment to public health and act now to help protect the tens of thousands of jobs that depend on a successful UK cruise industry."
In the letter to the FCDO, CLIA re-iterates the importance of cruising to the UK economy, which generates £10 billion every year and supports more than 88,000 jobs.
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"The cruise sector, which plays a key role in supporting a number of coastal communities in the UK, has been in voluntary suspension since March, as we have sought to prioritise the health and safety of our passengers. While this was the correct decision, it has cost the UK economy nearly £7 billion and the loss of an estimated over 52,000 jobs supported by the industry. As well as cruise line employees, the industry supports an extensive supply chain, including many small businesses and travel agents," the letter states.
"Acting now is absolutely crucial, as this is the time of year when marketing campaigns are being designed for bookings in the key wave period. Updating FCDO travel advice to remove specific advice against cruise is crucial to ensuring passengers can book with confidence and for the industry to support and create jobs."
The advice against cruising does not extend to river cruising, which is exempt following lobbying by CLIA last year.
The UK ocean cruise season does not typically begin until early April, but the FCDO advice extends to cruises outside of UK waters.