The Fast-Growing Cruise Industry Meets Rising Tide of Calls for Reform

The Fast-Growing Cruise Industry Meets Rising Tide of Calls for Reform

Cruise Tourism

 

As cruise ships increase in size, passengers, and ports, there is "a growing debate about the impacts—environmental, social and economic—on the oceans, coral reefs, beaches, and coastal communities," writes Martha Honey, Executive Director of The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), in the latest issue of EcoCurrents. Noting that "the allure of cruise tourism can be great," Honey writes, "The question is: Can cruise line tourism bring sustainable development to poor coastal and island communities?"

 

Majahual, a tiny Mexican fishing village along the southern Yucatan coast, has become the epicenter for "high-intensity coastal development centered around cruise ships and sun & sand mass tourism," write researchers Joe Pavelka and Tomas Camarena. As the cruise industry and Mexican government officials celebrated a "milestone"—the arrival of the one millionth cruise passenger in less than three years, the authors examine how jobs and profits are systemically bypassing Majahual. "Outside the cruise pier and tourism enclave," write the authors, "development’ remains marginal and illusive."

 

On dumping and other environmental issues surrounding cruise tourism, EcoCurrents, carries two contrasting points of view. One column, co-authored by an official of the ICCL, a cruise industry association, notes, "Cruise ships make up less than one percent of the world’s oceangoing vessels, but lead the maritime industry in finding new technologies and procedures to minimize environmental impacts," including the voluntary adoption of "stringent waste management practices and procedures."

 

A counter viewpoint by a leading critic of the cruise industry, argues that "the rapidly expanding size and number of cruise ships...has triggered a national cruise ship pollution crisis" that urgently requires strict enforcement of existing regulations, new legislation prohibiting dumping within 12 miles of the coast, and installation of advanced treatment equipment on all vessels.

 

Finally, EcoCurrents notes that tourists can find alternatives to the "floating cities" of the major cruise lines. It highlights how several companies operating small cruise vessels have adopted a range of socially and environmentally responsible practices.

 

 

 

About TIES


As the world's oldest and largest international ecotourism association, TIES seeks to be the global source of knowledge and advocacy uniting communities, conservation, sustainable travel..

 

 

 

> The International Ecotourism Society 

 

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The Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference will highlight global challenges and local opportunities, supporting sustainable development of tourism and promoting solutions that balance conservation, communities and sustainable travel.

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