Impacts of Cruise Tourism

3429 words (14 pages) Essay

8th Feb 2020 Tourism Reference this

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Kellons Ltd. A consultant organisation working for the sustainability and development of cruise tourism worldwide have come to the realisation that CARICOM must work better to develop its tourism potential for the future.

Part 1

1.0 Introduction

The Caribbean is in a unique situation to drive tourism as a sustainable destination, to be able to succeed all stakeholders must execute the 12-step plan created. This has great potential to work as the Caribbean is the world’s top cruise destination and one where the majority of very large cruise vessels have been deployed. Cruise Tourism here, has been set apart primarily due to its tremendous economic impact, as well as the high number of passengers or potential tourists who are motivated to visit the Region (Hilaire, 2007) This should be a cause of environmental, economic and tourism growth concern  (Charley Hunt, 2011) The need to retain the pristine nature of the Caribbean waters against the desire for increasing economic benefits from cruise tourism has come to a startling halt point, where research has stated that ‘in small islands, where tourism is the main income-earner, inevitably environmental issues take backstage’. According to Cruise Market Watch (2018) under 4 million passengers worldwide went on cruises in 1990, over 7 million in 2000, and over 18 million in 2010. Numbers by 2020 are projected to increase to more than 25 million, with nearly 60% of passengers from USA. (Watch, 2018) Cruise tourism and preserving environment and safety of workers can and should work together to deliver a perfect common ground for all to reach their best level. Consideration certain issues such as; How much economic benefit do passengers bring to the destinations they visit? What are the environmental impacts of massive cruise ships visiting sensitive marine environments? how are cruise workers treated with many larger ships registered in countries where there is limited legal protection for employees? (Jennings & Ulrik, 2016) This report which is based on other’s research should bring together a collection of issues regarding the above questions. And topical solutions that CARICOM should from now conform to.

2.0 Economic Impacts:

It is said that passengers from cruise ships purchase goods, food and souvenirs from the ports, benefiting the local area. Although many of the cruise lines limit these stop offs which ensures passengers purchase on board. In 2014 Cruise lines generated nearly $120 million globally the majority of local businesses do not share the economic benefits (Jennings & Ulrik, 2016) Most of the cruise lines have their own ‘economy’ suppling most of the food, drinks and items that passengers need, but the problem here is they do not source their supplies from local areas where the food is readily available. Costa Rica have the biggest fruit exports of fruits but do not sell to visiting cruise lines (Concern, 2014) and many other islands in the Caribbean supply a huge variety of fruit and vegetables in which cruise ships could supply in their restaurants. 

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Security: On cruise vessels, security checks are executed when passengers or shore personnel are embarking and not during disembarkation this can lead to social problem of drug smuggling as being a potential risk associated with cruise tourism (Hilaire, 2007) In most instances, passengers leave the vessel and proceed directly to buses, dive boats, etc ft without having to go through customs and security checks

2.1 Environmental Impacts

WWF describes cruise ships as floating towns; that have a major source of marine pollution – through the dumping of garbage and untreated sewage at sea, and the release of other shipping-related pollutants.

2.1.1 Oil waste

New liners are equipped with more eco-friendly technology still a 40% of the fleet are over 35 years old with that aged waste treatment systems. This 40% needs to drop significantly and fast. It is simply unacceptable in this year to allow this aged old waste treatment. Examination of chemical remedies for oily bilge water is an eye-opening experience. (Dyrud, 2016)

2.1.2 Air pollution

Cruise vessels use fuel not only to power their engines but also to maintain the integrated electrical systems. That fuel when emitted as exhaust into the atmosphere can and does impact negatively on human beings as well as the stratosphere. The exhausts from diesel engines comprise many gases, the most significant of which are nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides and carbon dioxide. Sulphur and Nitrogen emissions have high environmental impacts and are known for causing acid rain, over-fertilization of lakes and soil, and potential damage to vegetation and human health (Hilaire, 2007)

2.1.3 Human Health

It has been said that shipping emissions contribute to substantial human health and environmental problems. People living near ports experience higher levels of cancer, heart attacks, asthma, respiratory illness and other cardiopulmonary problems as well as premature death (Xu-Qin & Xiao-Dong, 2016).  The Caribbean region of Jamacia is known for the growth of marijuana. This herb also known as Ganga has many benefits and is considered medical.

2.1.4 Greenhouse Gas

Emissions are slight at sea but more distinct near coastlines and in cruise ports, which are normally located near major residential areas. Carbon dioxide, which is a natural constituent of the air, is considered a major greenhouse gas, which contributes to global warming (Wärtsilä, 2008) It must be noted the Caribbean has not been designated does not have the capacity to monitor the extent of environmental damage caused by cruise vessels. The carbon footprint of those who travel on cruise over a standard Boeing 747 in three times higher. Many passengers also fly to the departure point for their cruise, further increasing their carbon emissions (Jennings & Ulrik, 2016) (Andreatta, 1998)

3.0 Socio-Cultural impacts:


Section A

2.1 Globalisation

Since the ‘80s, the world economy has become increasingly “connected” and “integrated”; In most countries, the current wave of “globalization” has been accompanied by increasing concern about its impact in terms of employment and income distribution  (Lee & Vivarelli, 2006) Globalization offers opportunities for workers to achieve higher levels of economic prosperity. Unfortunately, it also causes job insecurity for specific groups in certain sectors. There are concerns that some workers in certain labour-intensive segments of the production process will be displaced (Meng & Devadason, 2009) This is because unskilled workers can lose out due to skilled workers moving to new countries with free market or trade laws. Existing social protections systems need to be reviewed to ensure that its provisions are relevant to the prevailing needs of the labour market. Reforms are needed to the current statutory provisions and social security schemes to enhance the protection for the unskilled, whose contract of employment is terminated prematurely due to no fault of his.

For small island states such as those in the Caribbean, studies show the export/trade opportunities would be mainly in the service sector (tourism, financial services, offshore health care, software development, entertainment etc.) which has shown greater dynamism than merchandise trade (Kendall, 2008)

The Caribbean has several advantages or strengths as regards globalisation. Among these is the fact that the Region is democratic; adheres to a system of laws; has embraced economic liberalism particularly since the beginning of the 90s, including the reduction or elimination of capital controls. The Caribbean has a relatively high level of education compared with other less developed countries, is also English-speaking and geographically close to the US, the largest single market in the world English is still the dominant language in the New Economy

2.2 Flags of Convenience:

Flags of convenience have many concerns associated with them the ship and its owner. Not only legal aspects, with some country’s requiring ship registered in that country to be crewed entirely by that country or a percentage of it. Trade can often be set to standard of just using the certain country e.g. US flags vessels engaging in trade must be owned by US citizens in US shipyards (Gibson, 2012) The ever-going issue of Flags being registers in countries where they are not originated from. This has man concerns for the concerns, including the exploitation of labour (Dyrud, 2016) 

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One example is; Royal Caribbean is based in Miami, Florida, and yet sail under a Liberian flag. The company does not even offer cruises in Liberia. Though, the arrangement does mean that they very little in US taxes, it also means that Royal Caribbean is accountable only to the far less labour and safety laws of Liberia, the cruise industry will create a situation where they can avoid paying their employees’ medical bills. (Walker, 2015) By stripping its ship employees of their legal rights this has led to worse rights and conditions of employment for staff on their ships.

Most cruise ships sail under ‘Flag of Convenience’ – an ‘FOC’ This means that companies register their ships in a country other than the country of ownership. Common FOC nations include Liberia, Panama and the Bahamas. Flying an FOC means that ships are subject to less regulation, making it more difficult for unions, industry stakeholders and the public to hold them accountable (Concern, 2017)

The system can result in:

  • Low wages for crews
  • Inadequate living and working conditions
  • Inadequate food and clean drinking water
  • Long periods of work without proper rest
  • Tax avoidance

At Kellons Ltd. it is agreed this is unacceptable and wants to see the expiry of the FOC open registry system. The want for a cruise industry to be regulated by negotiated trade union agreements, based on respect for basic human rights and a fair wage is what is needed for the future. The multinational nature of cruise ship crews means that the crew members often face exploitation and abuse. Seafarers can end up working 12-hour days, seven days a week for several months just to pay back crewing agents and to pay for flights to and from the ship. This is unacceptable today and should not be continued.

Why can working on a cruise be terrible? Firstly, below decks on a cruise ship is a hidden world of long hours, low pay, insecurity and exploitation. Working days are generally 10-13 hours long, seven days a week. Employees who work below deck, seldom see the light of day, Wages for persons on a salary can be as low as £270 a month, £480 a month for skilled cooks and fitters. Many domestic staff are “tip earners”, paid around £35 a month and must survive on the kindness of the passengers (Concern, 2017) This can put employees under tremendous stress thus, resulting in less tips due to less approachable manners. Many seafarers, mostly those from the Philippines, must pay the crewing agent a fee of up to £1,000 to join the ship. For the lowest paid, this can mean it takes as much as half of a typical eight-month contract to repay this expense. Employers can also demand a “security bond” of up to £550 from each employee, this bond is to stop desertion and cover any consequent fines. The bond can extend the working time to cover expenses to six out of the eight months on board. Discipline is also harsh and often randomly applied. When a passenger complains, the staff are transferred to stations where they do not like or can be dismissed.

Section B

2.1.0 Strategy to Develop a sustainable Tourism Region

All cruise operators should be expected to minimise the environmental impact they carry out, as well as offer fairness to the ports they visit and ensure safety and fair regulations to their staff.  Since the Caribbean relies heavily upon the natural environment for attracting visitors. This close relationship is crucial, with each being ‘dependent upon the other for maintaining a balance so that if the environment deteriorates, it will directly impact on tourism’

Step 1- Education

Students conducting their own research on the CARICOM community will have a youthful understanding to different issues, as they would be more advanced in technology. Environmental and engineering students would bring fresh ideas. Allowing students to apply their knowledge and critical thinking (Dyrud, 2016) When asking student to research issues like effectiveness of waste treatment systems dealing with huge sewage will influence then the necessity of keeping oceans clean and thus create awareness to the public health issues caused by dumping minimally treat human waste into the oceans. Examination of chemical remedies for oily bilge water is an eye-opening experience.

The way this education can be implemented is by collaborating with universities and colleges around the world. IT Sligo has many programmes in relation to Tourism and Environmental studies. Creating a sister programme allowing students to study in Ireland and bring back what they’ve learned and implement strategies to their area. Canada and Europe have difference educational situations where a student in Canada can do 3 years of a course at home and move to Ireland or elsewhere in Europe to gain an experience, culture and ideas from abroad. This ‘Erasmus’ type education should be implemented to all colleges in the Caribbean area.

Step 2- Environment

Crusie ships will choose to use biodispersion, as it is a very viable solution for oil. These products are, non-corrosive, non-toxic, residue-free, effective, and environmentally safe.” Any solution should: Be fast acting – remediation should take place in days or hours and not in months; not disturb the existing ecosystem; be available in a ready-to-use form; not require supplementary addition of nutrients; require little or no human intervention; contain no genetically modified bacteria; and be environmentally safe (Maritime Activity Reports, 2018) using alternative solutions may seem like an expensive change at first, but in short time one will learn not only it works out economically cheaper. But the effect it will have on the environment as well as human health is strikingly more attractive than any oil used ships.


Step 3 Security

Additionally, countries should implement tourism security protocols, thereby joining the new order of modernisation in the industry with practices that would foster the
sustainability of the destinations This can be done through the implementation of
tourism sustainability indicators and other initiatives promoted by the Sustainable
Tourism Zone of the Greater Caribbean (STZC) of the Association of Caribbean States
and other initiatives existing in the Region.

Step 4 Law and regulations

With the industry’s gloomy environmental record, it would be unexpected to expect cruise lines to self-regulate and change their environmental choices. Real change requires legal compulsion. As well as, sustained consumer pressure encouraging the strengthening of legal frameworks whilst also creating potentially a business case for improvement of the industry. New laws and regulations must be put in place immediately to help prevent harm done to the environment. Examples of laws. Litter law- fined $1000 on the spot and/or community service. Antisocial behaviour is not tolerated of any form, harassment, pushing, steeling etc if found doing any form the person in question will be placed in jail and considered guilty until proven innocent.

Community service- should now instead of cleaning streets is building new infrastructure or development for the region. This not only will benefit the area to having free workers. But also benefit the said criminal keeping them out of harm and showing a more positive outlook


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