Is cruise a sustainable way of spending your holiday? Joining 3 or almost 4,000 others on a slab-sided vessel which resembles a floating council estate. True, the on-board delights are many with all sorts of food and entertainment thrown in, but what about the devastation caused when 3, 4 or more of these behemoths turn up at the same place at the same time? Here is an article about Santorini:
"According to official data from the Greek Port Association, Santorini received 783,893 cruise visitors in 2016. Bank of Greece figures, meanwhile, show that the contribution of cruise tourism to the economy that same year came to 509 million euros, with Piraeus benefiting at a rate of 43.8 percent, Corfu 14.7 percent and Santorini just 8.6 percent.
So, of the 509 million euros that came into Greece from cruise visitors, the southeast Aegean island got just 43.7 million euros. Divide that figure by the number of passengers, however, and you get an average per capita expenditure of 55.8 euros, against the nationwide average of 97.9 euros per passenger."
and again, what about Venice, where there is not only a problem with massive cruise ships swamping the city but also with some tech-driven firms causing a major shift in the fortunes of the local inhabitants:
"Venetians also blame tourism for the shrinking population as the tourist industry’s need for lodging pushes up rents and encourages property owners to convert their apartments and houses into short-term holiday rentals like AirB&B - swapping long-term tenants for more lucrative tourists.
“If you keep the same model of tourism, in which the tourists from the cruises keep flooding Venice, you don’t resolve the terrible situation we’re in,” said local graphic designer Lorenzo Mason, whose family has lived in Venice for generations."
( https://www.forbes.com/sites/ceciliarodriguez/2016/09/29/venice-is-fed-up-with-cruise-ships-and-angry-protesters-are-blocking-them/#47129ff03f61 )
UNESCO lists 54 sites that are great danger. Not all, by any means, are at danger through tourism but there are those like include Lake Turkana National Parks, (Kenya), Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Madagascar), Selous Game Reserve (Tanzania), The Everglades National Park (USA), Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Indonesia) and even the historic centres of Vienna and Liverpool (Austria and UK) which deserve attention as regards sustainable tourism.
The Galapagos Islands were on the list, but removed after action was taken. That said, tourism to the Galapagos has started to grow with 225,000 visitors in 2015. The Australians are, of course, rather tetchy about the Great Barrier Reef and asked UNESCO to take the area off the list. The Great Barrier Reef brings in about 5.% billion Australian Dollars and employs pushing 70,000 people, so there is a question of where money talks louder than merit.
Tech has its upsides and cruise may appear to be a great, modern alternative to the 1950's UK Holiday camp, but where tech starts to dissolve local communities and cruise starts to swamp popular holiday destinations, it is time for a debate.
(header picture from greece-is.com )