Coronavirus test kits arrive late in the day for cruise ships, says GlobalData

Following news that Holland American Line vessel, Zaandam, will receive coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits after passengers and crew reported as having influenza-like symptoms;

Ben Cordwell, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view on the situation:

“COVID-19 test kits being made available to cruise ships will come as welcome news to passengers and crew. However, much of the reputational damage to cruise businesses has already been done.

“COVID-19 has been a PR disaster for the cruise industry. Stories of passengers being quarantined in cabins, ship environments enhancing the spread of infection and US travel advice warning citizens not to go on cruises, makes the latest step feel too little too late.

“It is important for cruise businesses to show that they have learned from COVID-19 and introduce more stringent health measures in the future – improving customer confidence in the industry.

“There is no doubt that a plethora of deals and savings will be utilized by cruise businesses in the months ahead. When 9/11 rocked the tourism industry, cruise companies reacted by lowering rates which led to a resurgence in passenger numbers. Businesses will be hoping that the same strategy will be effective in offsetting the impact of COVID-19. However, customers will need to be reassured that cruising is a safe environment to be in.”

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