JOEL Katz, Managing Director CLIA Australasia

Industry joins with communities

Whether it’s the Game of Thrones factor or the city’s innate beauty, Dubrovnik has become one of the most sought-after destinations in the Mediterranean in recent years.

But with its rise in popularity have come well-publicised concerns about how visitation can be managed sustainably.

That’s why the cruise industry is pleased to have embarked on a process that will make Dubrovnik a model for sustainable cruise tourism and provide solutions that can be considered in other destinations worldwide.

Last month CLIA signed a partnership with the City of Dubrovnik aimed at preserving the city’s cultural heritage through responsible tourism management. By engaging with key stakeholders in the community, the industry will help create a stewardship roadmap for the city based on UN sustainable tourism criteria, backed by a “Respect the City” visitor education campaign.

The partnership also involves the implementation of a 2020 cruise ship berthing policy, involving seasonal caps on passengers among other measures. The aim is to ensure visitor movements are well scheduled and managed, to avoid congestion in the city’s historic centre.

Globally the cruise industry represents just 2% of world tourism, but we aim to play a much greater role in developing sustainable tourism measures in partnership with the communities we visit.

Another example is Venice, where CLIA cruise lines have implemented a voluntary limit on the size of ships visiting via the Guidecca Canal since 2014, which has resulted in an overall reduction in the number of cruise passengers visiting the city.

CLIA also supports plans to create an alternative navigation route to Venice, and has urged authorities to progress its implementation as soon as possible.

Closer to home, the cruise industry has worked with communities like the port of Eden on the NSW South Coast, where a thriving tourism industry has been very successful in supporting cruise development. Last month Eden opened an extended wharf that will allow cruise ships to visit without having to bring passengers ashore in tender boats, a $44 million project funded by the NSW Government, Australian Government and Bega Valley Shire Council.

Eden is one of the most passionate communities in Australia when it comes to cruising, and the efforts that local businesses, tour operators, volunteers and regional authorities have invested in cruising has resulted in excellent growth and an impressive rate of return visitation. This can only continue thanks to the new facilities now available for cruise lines.

By working together with individual communities like these, the cruise industry can play an important role in ensuring destinations can manage future cruise tourism in a sustainable way while at the same time safeguarding the economic benefits our industry creates.

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