The Global Cruise Activist Network (GCAN) has launched a ‘Rethink Cruise Tourism’ campaign.
This is aimed at trying to compel cruise customers, investors and governments to imagine a socially, economically and environmentally responsible cruise industry, before restarting the cruise ships sector following Covid-19.
As part of the campaign, GCAN released two videos and a series of graphics and fact sheets to provide policy makers and would-be cruisers with a vision of what a transformed cruise industry could look like.
In September, 2020, GCAN, whose membership includes cruise port residents, civil society organisations, and labour & crime victim advocates, published ‘Principles for Responsible Cruise Tourism,’ which provides a roadmap for a transition to the socially and environmentally responsible future GCAN members want to see.
This addresses many concerns ranging from the cruise industry’s negative impacts on local communities to labour, climate change, air pollution, water pollution, environment & biodiversity, public health, and crime victims.
“For decades, the cruise industry’s business practices have put the social fabric, economic integrity, public health, and environment of host communities — as well as passengers, crew, coastal and marine ecosystems, and the climate — at risk,” said Arlo Haskell of Key West Committee for Safer, Cleaner Ships in Florida.
“Cruise companies have failed to act responsibly, from burning huge volumes of highly polluting fuel to dumping in the ocean, underpaying its lowest-paid workers, exposing passengers and crew to air pollution, and avoiding labour, tax, environmental and criminal laws.
“Governments will have to regulate this rogue industry in order to protect people, communities and the environment we depend on,” he stressed.
“Cruise ships are proven to spread Covid-19,” said Carrie Agnew of Charleston Cruise Control. “They are responsible for spreading this disease and remain a threat to public health and safety. It is not safe to resume cruising during a global pandemic and any future infectious disease outbreaks.”
“We expect the cruise ship industry to use this pause in operations to review their business practices in terms of social, environmental, as well as economic performance,” said Jane da Mosto of Italian NGO We are here Venice. “This will require a radical transformation of their business model and corporate cultures to find fresh opportunities. The clever ones will surely manage.”
At a presentation, a spokesman stressed that GCAN was not trying to shut down the cruise industry but accused operators of not adapting and acknowledging the world they operate in.