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Coronavirus warnings could wreak havoc on Florida’s thriving cruise-line economy

Coronavirus warnings could wreak havoc on Florida’s thriving cruise-line economy
[Photo: Alonso Reyes/Unsplash]

As cases of the new coronavirus continue to tick up, countless industries are feeling the effects, and the cruise ship business is among the hardest hit. The growing outbreak of COVID-19 is particularly affecting the tourism economy in Florida, where the preponderance of pleasure boat companies is headquartered.

Maybe you’ve always dreamed of sailing serenely across an ocean, or maybe you look at cruise ships as the travel equivalent of a mall full of chain retail and fast-casual restaurants. Whatever your take, now that the State Department just put the kibosh on cruising due to the rising tide of global coronavirus cases, the sector is suffering.

“U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship,” the State Department said in an ominous statement.

According to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), more than 154,000 people are employed in some capacity related to cruise travel, and the industry earns over $7 billion in Florida. Direct spending in the state adds up to $8.5 billion. Taken together that comprises a third of the total economic engine cruise travel contributed to the U.S. economy in 2018.

A Washington Post report said White House advisers are going to present policy changes to President Trump, including deferred taxes for industries such as travel and hospitality that are being affected by the outbreak of COVID-19.

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