Expert views

Matching growth opportunities with sustainability

9 avril 2020
Andy Harmer, Cruise Lines International Association

The global cruise industry is ready to take the lead when it comes to moving millions of tourists across the seas sustainably and responsibly

The water around and below us, the air above us, the communities around us, the people who work for us: all are critical factors when it comes to planning a sustainable growth strategy for the cruise industry based on leadership, stewardship and partnership.

The cruise sector represents 2% of the overall travel industry with more than 2,000 ports-of-call globally, including in such sensitive waters as the Baltic Sea and the Alaskan coast. We are a small part of the 1.5 billion leisure trips made each year, but our industry is ready to play a leadership role when it comes to sustainable tourism.

Leadership for fewer emissions

While cruise ships comprise less than 1% of the global maritime community, we are pioneers in new sustainable technologies and practices from which the entire shipping sector benefits. We have invested more than £17 billion ($20 billion) in developing new energy-efficient technologies and cleaner fuels.

At the end of 2018, the cruise industry made a first-ever, industry-wide emission commitment to reduce the rate of carbon emissions across the fleet by 40% by 2030. And, as of 2020 and in line with new International Maritime Organization regulations which affect the whole maritime industry, ships will have to use fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5% compared with the previous limit of 3.5%. Other innovations include shore-side power, liquefied natural gas and exhaust gas-cleaning systems.

Waste stewardship and gender equality

There are many examples of our stewardship role, such as on-board wastewater and sulphur treatment plants, pioneering hull coatings and design, and air lubrication systems. Thanks to our waste management and recycling systems, there is zero waste-to-landfill from some of the biggest cruise ships in the world.

Beyond the pure environmental concerns, the cruise sector is also leading the way on labour conventions and being aggressive in gender diversity in the marine division of our ships – which accounts for 15% of the people working on the ships – up to and including women who are ship captains.

Partnerships for communities

Forging meaningful partnerships is vital for success, and we are working with leading non-governmental organizations and sensitive destination ports such as Dubrovnik in Croatia, Santorini in Greece and Barcelona in Spain to ensure that cruise tourism works for resident communities, destinations and visitors.

For example, in Dubrovnik in 2019, we signed a long-term partnership to help manage the flow of visitors to the city. We are working together with the mayor to sensitize visitors so that thy respect the city’s unique culture and heritage, as well as those of its surrounding areas.

We believe that with opportunity comes responsibility, and we are working as an industry to meet those responsibilities with numerous such models and initiatives.