For many, tourism offers an invaluable opportunity to see unique cultures, landmarks and events around the world. It enlightens and broadens the mind, providing an unparalleled insight into the different corners of the globe. Cruising makes this easier than ever before, enabling holidaymakers to visit a number of destinations over a short period of time while enjoying luxurious surroundings.
It was thought that, following World War II, cruise-based tourism would die out in favour of passenger aircraft. The 1980’s, however, saw a tremendous revival of the industry, with continuous year-on-year growth averaging around the 8% mark. This year, it is expected that a total of 25.3 million passengers around the world will embark on a cruise.
But it is also important to take a step back and appreciate the impact of tourism on any particular settlement or landmark. Tourism in itself can have a detrimental effect and, if not well-monitored, it can end up wiping out the very landmarks, culture and heritage that people have come to experience. It is, therefore, important for environmentally friendly practices and support measures for local communities to be put into place to ensure cruising offers a sustainable holiday option.
Responsible and sustainable tourism has been the subject on the lips of many leading figures within the cruise industry. According to the Sustainable Cruise Tourism Development Strategies document published by UNWTO Publications, there are three clearly outlined pillars for sustainable tourism, which are:
There are many pros and cons for the impact of cruise passengers on a destination. For example, one benefit may be that no accommodation infrastructure needs to be put in place for cruise passengers, but this also results in a less revenue being contributed into the local economy. On the one hand, cruise ships do not pose the same risk as lodgings or hotels, but, on the other hand, this will have less of a positive impact economically and could also pose problems on a social scale – with many ships capable of carrying more than 3,000 passengers at any one time.
The sheer number of passengers arriving at a specific destination can be managed in such a way that brings benefits. Security buildings, taxi services and dockside facilities all bring jobs to the local area, while cruise lines go out of their way to provide crowd control via the offering of excursions. These excursions enable passengers to fully experience a destination by boarding a coach and heading to a specific landmark or region. This minimises the traffic impact and ensures passengers are equally distributed throughout each destination. It also ensures that the impact on the local economy is more widespread.
To better understand the impacts of cruise tourism, it may pay to look at some of the world’s smallest island destinations. Ann Sherry, Executive Chair for Carnival Australia, has monitored the tourism situation throughout South Pacific in recent years. Speaking at the World Tourism Forum, she said: “When I joined [Carnival Corporation] from the banking sector 10 years ago we needed to restore the reputation of cruising and grow.”
“Our strategy was to open new destinations, [but] we wanted destinations to want us to come and to welcome our customers.”
“Many of the communities we touch are aid dependent. We can show examples in Papua New Guinea and in the Solomon Islands where communities have been lifted out of poverty and brought educational opportunities.”
“Sustainable tourism is key to everything we do. We don’t look to be donors but partners. We’re committed to minimising the impact ships have on communities, to making sure the environmental impacts are properly mapped and tracked, and to ensuring communities benefit.”
Since taking the position at Carnival Corporation, Ann Sherry been determined to ensure island communities benefit from cruise tourism and her strategies are now being implemented in other regions around the world. Sherry has proven that cruise tourism can have a positive impact across the world, but much more can be done. This impact should be measured alongside the growth of cruising to ensure sustainability and make cruising even more appealing.
Growth figures alone indicate that there is no better time to join the industry, but the potential to create a sustainable image around the world goes to show that there is room for further growth within the cruise sector. Becoming a franchisee with GoCruise today will ensure you are able to ride this wave by sharing your love for travel and earning competitive rates of commission.
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