17th August 2022 – (Hong Kong) The Hong Kong government allows the resumption of cruises on high seas, but circuit breaker mechanism is still in place. The tourism industry players met with the Health Bureau yesterday (16th) to urge the government to review the circuit breaker arrangement so that the industry can increase revenue channels and avoid shutting down later.
Legislative Councillor, Perry Yiu Pak-leung who participated in the meeting, said on a radio program this morning (17th) that the circuit breaker mechanism is the most concerned issue of the tourism industry. If the cruise operator can guarantee disinfection and epidemic prevention procedures, the authorities should explore whether the circuit breaker mechanism still needs to be retained. Yiu reiterated that as long as the mechanism still exists, it will be difficult to attract cruise companies to return to the Hong Kong market. Even if the cruise line is willing to return to the Hong Kong market, it still needs to obtain approval from the head office first, and the crew and staff must be quarantined when arriving in Hong Kong.
Even if the Hong Kong government eases restrictions immediately, cruises will still have to complete their operating itineraries first.
It is believed that the previous government’s anti-epidemic regulations on high seas travel were too strict. As a result, many cruise companies were discouraged from operation cruise-to-nowhere. On the contrary, overseas countries have gradually resumed voyages. It is hoped that the authorities will relax the quarantine restrictions on cruise travel. Ho Pak-leung, head of the Centre for Infection and Infectious Diseases at the University of Hong Kong, also concurred on the relaxation of quarantine restrictions on cruise ships during a radio program this morning.