Don’t treat sustainability as ‘elephant in the room’ when selling cruise, agents told

Agents should not ignore the topic of sustainability when they are selling cruises and stop seeing it as an “elephant in the room”, according to Emmy-award winning TV host Jeff Corwin.

Speaking to delegates at the 2024 Clia conference in Southampton, Corwin, who is also the nature and adventure ambassador for Princess Cruises, hailed the advances in sustainability measures the cruise industry is making, and urged agents to “celebrate” that progress when discussing cruises with their customers.

Corwin described the topic of sustainability on cruise ships as a “lightning bolt for controversy”, saying it is something people often complain about as they are not educated on the work being done to boost sustainable measures both onboard and shore side.

More: Expedia supports destinations with new sustainability programmes

“We know sustainability is seen as an elephant in the room and sometimes people complain about the cruise industry, so we need to open up a conversation around it which is currently not being had,” he said.

“There is so much work being done in terms of recycling, reducing carbon emissions, and turning waste water into clean water. The cruise industry is truly a pioneer of sustainability and is often lightyears ahead of land-based venues, but we need to talk about it more.”

Corwin went on to emphasise the value of cruising to the communities ships visit, saying the tourism and financial influx from passengers is the “lifeblood” of some destinations.

He highlighted the importance of agents introducing their customers to new destinations to create “environmental stewards” who will want to protect the places they have seen.

“There is so much value in this industry,” he said. “Not only is it providing millions of people with a safe, reliable and economical getaway to incredibly rich and wonderful journeys of a lifetime, the industry is a lifeblood of many communities.

“One large ship docking in one big port for one day infuses around $3 million into the local economy. I have seen communities built and thriving because of the cruise industry and seen them stressed and economically challenged when the ships go away.”

He added: “You can’t protect what you don’t love and you won’t love it if you don’t get to see it, so travel agents are a huge part of that mission. You hold the keys to the gateway so people can go on those amazing adventures.”

Share article

View Comments

Jacobs Media is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.