It's no secret that the cruise industry, dramatically becalmed by the pandemic, has much at stake with the uncertainty surrounding the resumption of cruising. But there's another Australian industry that also has a lot at "steak".
Australia's primary producers drew millions of dollars in revenue from cruising, particularly the meat industry, which estimates two tonnes of Australian red meat was typically ordered for a three-day cruise.
"That's a significant volume for the industry," Sam Burke, Meat & Livestock Australia's corporate chef says. "We're all waiting in anticipation for the cruise ships to return because that will drive more volume through those channels and then assist the economy."
Burke and Uwe Stiefel, P&O Cruises Australia's corporate executive chef, have combined to promote the economic value of cruising to Australia in the latest in a series of #WeAreCruise videos produced by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
"We use anything from 1000 to 1500 tonnes of red meat annually," Stiefel says. "They're massive volumes and everything is locally grown and locally made. Many of the farmers, manufacturers and producers have lost a lot of their business."
Australian meat producers are among many local businesses suffering massive losses while cruise ships remain at anchor, says Joel Katz, managing director of CLIA. He says a broad range of primary producers and transport operators are also badly affected.
Cruising's annual contribution to the national economy in normal times is estimated by CLIA to be more than $5 billion, with the industry supporting more than 18,000 jobs.
Katz says these jobs are all at risk and it's vital that cruising resumes with extensive health measures in place so economic opportunities to regional and other coastal communities can be restored.