Sustainability: a reality in the cruise industry

November 2022

In the past few years, we have experienced in the cruise industry a strong trend towards sustainability from the different stakeholders.

This trend has proved to be not only a will to go further in preserving the environment, but a reality as the planet is desperately asking for actions and everybody must get involved.

The cruise lines have been investing in many different ways to pollute less than they used to. The powering by LNG or the reduction in the use of plastics are only a few of the measures they are enforcing without forgetting the constant renovation of the fleet (the majority of the ships are less than 10 years old). We can not forget it is their duty as the seas are to be sailed without causing a damage, the oceans must be preserved. In this sense, though, it is important to point out that not all industries are investing that much in taking care of the environment and still cruise ships are always in the spotlight.

Destinations are the other important half of the industry as they integrate the ports, the local companies supplying services and goods to the cruise ships in a direct or indirect way and, obviously, the citizens who are exposed to the arrival of tourists.

Many ports are making constant revisions of their protocols and some of them are even investing in infrastructures with the electrification of docks to reduce emissions during the cruise ships stay. They are closely monitoring the emissions and studying the impacts of the arrival of cruise ships in the port and also in the city in order to have real figures which can help them to identify the points to improve.

Within the destinations, we must include all the agents involved in the shoreside services, from the port agent to the ground operator and, obviously, the tour operator. In this sense, we all need to make steps ahead and introduce a number of measures to support sustainability. And this can be done in many different ways, to begin with, like we have done this season in BC TOURS, by introducing in the fleet eco-friendly vehicles and, even if they are more expensive, it is our duty to invest on them as this is an inversion in keeping a future for our businesses. However, vehicles are not the only way of helping in leaving a positive footprint, the promotion of tours which can contribute in perpetuating traditions are not only positive for the tourists who more and more are searching the immersion with the local culture but also beneficial for the locals.

And precisely the locals are the key part within the destination. We have witnessed in different ports how locals have protested against the arrival of cruise ships. Because of this, a dialogue must be kept with the institutions and the political representatives so that they understand how this industry is progressing and the steps they are making. In no event, this should be used as a political instrument to win votes without thinking in all the consequences. Through institutions like CLIA agreements have been achieved always taking into consideration the distinctive features of each destination.

All in all, we can honestly say that this is an industry working on sustainability by far distance from other industries and where every single actor has already started to make changes towards a better and greenest future. This is how we understand it at BC TOURS, with a firm commitment towards sustainability,

By Isaac Alvarez
General Manager