Home News Singapore 'cruises to nowhere' plan sparks virus fears

Singapore ‘cruises to nowhere’ plan sparks virus fears

But the tourism board in Singapore, a key port and transport hub in Asia, is holding talks with cruise lines on putting on voyages that depart from and return to the city-state.

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Singapore hopes to start “cruises to nowhere” in a bid to revive its coronavirus-hit tourism industry, but critics warned Monday against a risky move that could spark Covid-19 outbreaks.

The global cruise industry has largely ground to halt due to virus-related travel restrictions, and following a series of outbreaks on packed vessels.

But the tourism board in Singapore, a key port and transport hub in Asia, is holding talks with cruise lines on putting on voyages that depart from and return to the city-state.

Officials will put in place “appropriate measures that will enable cruises to resume in a safe manner,” the board’s cruise director Annie Chang told AFP. She did not say when the cruises might start.

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However Marcie Keever, oceans and vessels programme director at Friends of the Earth, warned about “the potential to have Covid outbreaks” on cruise liners.

“The cruise industry was a large contributor to Covid outbreaks in several ports around the world,” she told AFP.

She also warned about the environmental impact of restarting cruises.

Last week, Singapore Airlines ditched a plan to launch “flights to nowhere” to boost its virus-hit finances following an outcry over the impact on the climate.

Several cruise lines worldwide, including Britain’s P&O Cruises and Norway’s Hurtigruten, have cancelled all sailings for now due to travel restrictions.

Singapore saw virus outbreaks in crowded dormitories housing low-paid migrant workers, but they have now largely been brought under control.

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