Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. and 70 operators are celebrating the completion of a multi-year program aimed at increasing the number of sustainable tours available to the company’s five million annual guests. An important part of RCL’s overall Save the Waves program, this commitment serves to protect the destinations the company’s ships visit and raise awareness among its guests by designating tours whose operators have been verified to have adopted policies that align with international standards for sustainability developed by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) for tour operators.
“Destinations are the biggest highlight of a cruise vacation, guests want to explore and discover new cultures and locations and we want to do our part to make sure that these destinations continue to thrive,” said Roberta Jacoby, Managing Director, Global Tour Operations, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “We are incredibly proud of the 70 tour operators that have been with us on this journey which first started in 2010,” said Jacoby. “Their vision and foresight for sustainable and responsible operations in their countries is a real step forward for sustainable tourism.”
RCL worked with Sustainable Travel International to develop the Sustainable Tourism Education Program’s (STEP) Sustainable Shore Excursion Standard, a subset of criteria and indicators from the GSTC standard selected by STI as being applicable to cruise tourism shore excursions. The SSE standard is designed to help identify providers who offer high-quality shore excursions that also support local communities and conserve the environment.
Sustainable shore excursions are more than just nature tours—they encompass a broader category that includes tours that responsibly manage environmental impacts, preserve local history and cultures, protect the rights and resources of the local community and have properly trained employees committed to quality service.
The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) represents a diverse and global membership, including UN agencies, leading travel companies, hotels, country tourism boards, tour operators, individuals and communities—all striving to achieve best practices in sustainable tourism.