TOURISM
Southampton MP calls for restart of international cruises

A Southampton MP is calling on the government to allow international cruising to resume.

Royston Smith, MP for Southampton Itchen, has asked government ministers to allow the resuming of international cruising from July 19 when the lockdown restrictions are expected to come to an end.

It comes as more than 500 cruise ships visit Southampton every year, each bringing more than £2.5m to the local economy, according to Mr Smith.

In a letter he sent to the Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and the new Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, he said: “The cruise industry has proven that they are ready to safely resume operations and it would therefore be perverse to allow pubs, restaurants and hotels to reopen while preventing cruise ships from welcoming back passengers.”

Currently cruises around the British Isles are permitted but international cruises have not been allowed to resume

In his letter Mr Smith said the government previously said the vaccination programme was the way out of the pandemic.

“With most adults now partially or wholly vaccinated we can no longer put off a return to normality and that includes international cruises,”Mr Smith added.

Alastair Welch, Director of ABP Southampton, said: “ABP was delighted to welcome passengers back to Southampton with the resumption of domestic cruising in May. With increasing numbers of ships returning to operations, strong passenger demand and tried and tested Covid protocols, we very much look forward to welcome the return of international cruises in the near future.“

The Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office said it would not speculate on future travel advice updates.

But in a statement released earlier this year it said “the government will continue to review its cruise ship travel advice based on the latest medical advice”.

The Department of Health and Social Care has been approached for comment.

Source: Planetradio.co.uk

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