Cruise tourism – what’s below the surface?

Cruise Tourism briefing launched

4sail03Our timely new briefing, Cruise Tourism – what’s below  the surface?  was successfully launched at a special event in March 2016. The briefing is available via either of the buttons below, as are all our reports and Member briefings.

The cruise tourism sector is now outpacing leisure or land-based travel. In fact, according to research from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), over the ten years from 2004 to 2014, global cruise holidays have grown faster in popularity than global land-based holidays by a 23 per cent margin.

What’s more, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) 2016 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, the industry shows no signs of slowing down, with 24 million passengers expected to sail in 2016, up from 23 million in 2015. Travel agents are also predicting a higher demand for cruise travel. Eight out of ten CLIA Travel Agent Members stated they are expecting an increase in cruise sales in 2016 over last year.

It may be popular, but is this form of tourism ethical and sustainable? Does it bring real benefits to local communities in the places the boats visit? Our briefing (available below) brings together much of  the latest research.

Tourism Concern Reports and Member Briefings (Members)

Although not all cruises are the same, it is fair to say that the industry has a poor record on worker rights, has significant environmental impacts and brings few benefits to the destination communities – often leaving waste and pollution behind and culturally overwhelming smaller destinations.

Tourism Concern Reports and Member Briefings (non Members)

The launch event, which was free for Members,  was a chance to explore these issues from different perspectives.The evening began with an introduction to the briefing, which looks at the social and economic benefits to destinations, the environmental impact of cruise ships and the human/worker rights of employees. We then presented a short film produced by student Nicola Hill, a Tourism Concern member, which highlighted some of the issues with cruise ship tourism. This was followed by the showing of the Dispatches Channel 4 documentary Cruises Undercover: The Truth below decks

“Glossy marketing films and brochures depict a cheerful workforce dedicated to making a cruise a five star experience. Channel 4 Dispatches goes undercover to investigate the reality of life below deck for the multi-national workforce, who toil behind the scenes of glamorous ocean going holidays. The cruise industry generates billions of pounds in revenue each year and working on a ship provides many people from around the world a much-needed source of income. However Dispatches reporter Tazeen Ahmad – travelling as a passenger on a European cruise – and an undercover reporter working as an assistant waiter discover working conditions below the legal minimum in the UK.”

Guest speaker Paul Myles, the Dispatches undercover reporter, then shared his personal experiences and insights, making the issues raised in our briefing really come alive. Finally, Dr Xavier Font, a leading academic on Cruise Tourism, presented his research on how cruise ship companies present their CSR (Corporaste & Social Responsibility) data. It was clear from the presentation that many companies make it difficult or impossible to understand their impacts from the information they provide.

The launch programme with links to items is outlined below. The Briefing  is available free to Members or you can access it via our non members report page. Members have access to all our briefings and reports in the Members area

More Information at:

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3 Comments

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    […] built. These monster ships can carry, entertain and feed 5,000 passengers at a time. Meanwhile research from Tourism Concern shows that the older vessels are responsible for 36 times as many greenhouse gas emissions per […]

  2. The eco guide to cruises | Lucy Siegle | Flynews
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    […] built. These monster ships can carry, entertain and feed 5,000 passengers at a time. Meanwhile research from Tourism Concern shows that the older vessels are responsible for 36 times as many greenhouse gas emissions per […]

  3. The eco guide to cruises | Lucy Siegle – Enjeux énergies et environnement
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    […] built. These monster ships can carry, entertain and feed 5,000 passengers at a time. Meanwhile research from Tourism Concern shows that the older vessels are responsible for 36 times as many greenhouse gas emissions per […]

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