Cruise lines appear to be sailing toward geotourism
Every industry has its canary in the coalmine and for travel, some would argue that cruise lines are the proverbial canary.
Travel industry pros skeptical about emerging industry trends are more willing to begin to gently embrace that trend if it can be shown that the major cruise lines are onto it.
So I thought Iâ€™d Google around and see what I could find out about the debates and tactics under discussion in the cruise industry.
March 2006. Conservation Internationalâ€™s Center for Environmental Leadership in Business publishes â€œFrom Ship to Shore: Sustainable Stewardship in Cruise Destinations.â€
The report was produced by CI as part of its work through the Ocean Conservation and Tourism Alliance (OCTA), an initiative between CI and the International Council of Cruise Lines working to protect biodiversity in main cruise destinations while promoting industry practices that minimize environmental impacts.
â€œAlthough cruise tourism has the potential to overwhelm fragile destinations if not managed effectively, the industry is also a great potential ally for conservation, because many cruise passengers are attracted by the opportunity to experience new places and cultures,â€ stated Russell Mittermeier, president of CI, in the From Ship to Shore Foreword.
The report features stakeholder examples of tangible steps taken to ensure a sustainable future for cruise tourism while maintaining a destinationâ€™s natural and cultural integrity. It also offers recommendations on best practices for the cruise lines, governments, civil society and shore excursion operators.
For example, this latter group is encouraged to â€œform partnerships with local communities and indigenous people in order to include cultural elements in their shore excursions and implement operating procedures to minimize negative impact on the local environment and cultures.â€
Feb. 2008. Geotourism was recognized as a new travel trend at the American Association of Port Authorities Annual Conference.
May 2008. Allies within the Belize cruise tourism industry signed a declaration of commitment to create sustainable cruise tourism practices. Conservation International hailed the accord between the government of Belize, the private sector, NGOs and cruise lines as the â€œfirst such document to address considerations by an established nature tourism destination,â€ and predicted the accord would become a role model for cruise line destinations worldwide.
June 2008. Conservation International and Cruise Lines International Association signed an agreement to renew the Ocean Conservation and Tourism Alliance to minimize the cruise industryâ€™s environmental footprint and protect biodiversity.
A press release about the agreement stated CI will continue to work with CLIA to develop and implement good practice standards and training tools for shore excursions, support conservation projects in key cruise destinations and raise awareness and support for conservation issues among cruise industry customers, employees and vendors.
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