MSC Cruises director warns of ‘misinformation’ about sector

MSC Cruises’ UK and Ireland managing director has described himself as “still surprised” about some of the criticism levelled at the cruise industry.

During Travel Weekly’s Sustainability Summit in London, Antonio Paradiso said most cruise lines are on course to meet net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, adding that MSC Cruises is “ahead of the game”.

Paradiso said: “I’m still surprised about the amount of misinformation attached to the cruise industry.”

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New ship MSC Euribia completed the world’s first net-zero greenhouse gas emissions sailing. Achieving net-zero performance was made possible by using bio-LNG using a mass-balance system Paradiso said, but challenges remain over the sourcing of “commercially viable” fuel.

Addressing “misinformation” about the cruise sector, Paradiso said: “A lot is being done already so maybe some of these misconceptions were true 20 years ago, but we started this revolution a long time ago.”

The other panellists in the session, titled ‘Operating sustainably’, were Club Med’s UK and Nordics managing director, Nicolas Bresch, the Spanish Tourist Office’s UK director, Manuel Butler, and Travelife managing director Carolyn Wincer.

Bresch said Club Med has taken various steps to become more sustainable.

“The main challenge is about reducing consumption without compromising the guest experience,” said Bresch.

He added that guests will notice the smallest changes, including a one-degree tweak in the temperature of a swimming pool.

However, a number of measures have been introduced to promote efficient energy consumption and reduce waste, according to Bresch, including the use of sensors in accommodation so that heating gets turned off when guests open windows.

Butler, who highlighted that British visitors to Spain account for 1.2% of the destination’s GDP, said tourists have cut down the length of trips over the years, but longer stays are “crucial” and can boost sustainability.

On certification, Wincer underlined the importance of independent schemes such as the Global Sustainable Tourism Council criteria.

“Certification is the only way to ensure that people are meeting a similar standard globally,” said Wincer.

She recommended that companies wishing to improve their performance should look at their whole supply chain.

“We need to do it because it’s the right thing to do for the long-term viability of the industry,” she added.

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