The decision to begin cruises to nowhere next month is important for both economic and psychological reasons. Coupled with recent announcements about opening air travel bubbles with countries that have managed the Covid-19 pandemic well, this latest move represents another careful step in opening up the economy. It also signals a nascent return to normalcy in a sector that has been hit hard since the middle of March, when Singapore joined several countries in closing their ports to cruise vessels over fears that they may carry infected passengers. On the psychological front, the short journeys could help release a pent-up desire to travel somewhere and experience something touristy. Of course, that satisfaction would be different since the round-trip cruises would not have ports of call.
Nevertheless, the journeys offer Singapore residents - which the cruises are restricted to - a welcome feel of the seas after months of having been deprived of "overseas" travel. Also, unlike the idea of airline flights to nowhere, sea journeys last longer and represent a different version of staycations, which have grown in popularity. These trips are being promoted to help the tourism sector, and to cater to consumers who want to spend a few days away from their homes which have doubled up as their offices. Whatever provides emotional release and helps the economy in the process deserves a fair go in these dismal times.