Cruise industry doubles down on sustainability: CLIA

The cruising industry is making a deeper commitment to responsible tourism practices, with a focus on environmental sustainability and destination stewardship, according to the 2020 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook report by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

The report highlighted the industry’s US$22 billion investment in the development of new energy efficient technologies, partnerships with local governments in key destinations, and a commitment to reducing its rate of carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2030, compared to 2008.

Sustainability key priority for cruise industry in 2020: CLIA

“While demand for cruising has reached new heights, the cruise industry is accelerating our efforts to be a leader in responsible tourism,” said Kelly Craighead, president and CEO, CLIA. “Our members are at the forefront of best practices designed to protect the sanctity of the destinations we visit and enhance the experiences of travellers and residents alike.”

With a projected 32 million passengers to set sail in 2020, CLIA Cruise Lines is gearing up to meet ongoing demand by scheduling to debut 19 new ocean ships in the upcoming year, resulting in a total of 278 CLIA Cruise Line ocean ships projected to be in operation by the end of 2020.

Industry growth results in positive economic progress in communities around the world, said CLIA in a statement. Cruising sustained 1,177,000 jobs equaling US$50.24 billion in wages and salaries and US$150 billion total output worldwide in 2018, according to the report.

As well, the newly released CLIA 2018 Global Economic Impact Analysis found that passengers spend US$376 in port cities before boarding a cruise and US$101 in each visiting port destination during a cruise. North America accounts for the highest rate of cruisers with 14.2 million North Americans cruising in 2018.

“The industry’s economic impact is a big part of the story, especially as it relates to our passengers’ contributions to local economies and the diverse workforce onboard our ships,” said Craighead. “We recognise that with growth comes increased responsibility to raise the bar in all aspects of what we do to ensure cruising remains a force for good and the best way to experience the world.”

Here are some of the cruise industry trends going into 2020, according to the State of the Cruise Industry Outlook report:

1. Environmental Sustainability: The development and identification of new technologies and cleaner fuels is a top priority for the cruise industry, which continues to make substantial investments in reducing environmental impact. CLIA’s most recent Environmental Technologies and Practice Report shows significant progress towards the adoption of new and innovative practices, while the industry continues to explore new ways to increase efficiencies.
• Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) – 44 per cent of new-builds will rely on LNG fuel for primary propulsion
• Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (ECGS) – 68 per cent of global capacity currently utilises EGCS, while 75 per cent of non-LNG new-builds will have EGCS
• Advanced Wastewater Treatment Systems – 100 per cent of new-builds will have these systems in place
• Shore-side Power – 88 per cent of new-builds will have or be configured to add this ability
• Additional Areas of Focus – battery propelled vessels, advanced recycling practices, reduced plastic use, energy-efficient lighting, solar energy, and fuel cell

2. Destination Stewardship: With increased demand and growth in the cruise industry comes responsibility to foster respect and cooperation with cruise destinations. In collaboration with local communities, the cruise industry is exploring new and creative ways to manage the flow of visitors and implement the highest standards of responsible tourism including partnerships with local governments, staggered arrivals and departures, excursion diversification, shoreside power and local passenger spending.

3. Cruise and Stay: More travellers are spending time in and near cruise ports. In fact, 65 per cent of cruise passengers spend a few extra days at embarkation or debarkation ports.

4. Reduce Single-Use Plastic: Travellers are taking sustainability to the seas. The study found that more than eight of ten cruise passengers recycle (82 per cent) and reduce using single-use plastics (80 per cent) while travelling. Seven out of ten cruisers also forego plastic straws.

5. Generation Cruise Positive: The attitude around cruising is changing, no matter the generation. More than 66 per cent of Generation X and 71 per cent of Millennials have a more positive attitude about cruising compared to two years ago.

6. Lone Cruisers: Marriage rates are declining and the number of single adults is growing globally. As a result, cruise lines are responding to the shift in passenger demographics by offering studio cabins, single-friendly activities, eliminating single supplements and solo-lounges.

7. Micro Travel: Trip durations are continuing to change, with many travellers looking for quick trips. Cruise lines are offering bite-sized cruises over a three- to five-day period offering shorter itineraries to a variety of destinations.

The full report can be viewed here.

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