Cruise line operator MSC says its latest island experience is aimed at educating passengers about the importance of sustainability.

Visits to the Bahamas Marine Reserve private island will start in November and will allow guests to enjoy snorkelling, kayaking and paddle-boarding. 

The cruises are designed to have a minimal environmental impact and will allow guests to connect with the natural surroundings of the sanctuary.

The company has spent four years transforming this once industrial site into a marine reserve, restoring the coral reefs and conserving the island in an operation that has seen 7,500 tons of scrap metal removed and 4,500 trees and palms planted. 

MSC has shown that it is critical for the tourism industry to not only show responsibility in protecting the environment but also in creating awareness of what stewardship of the natural world can look like.  

Being sustainable will boost the brand image of MSC, a welcome boon for the cruise line. With this venture, MSC hopes to show that it is acting ethically in a world marred by global ecological concerns. 

A potential business success 

The private island is only accessible to tourists via MSC Cruises, meaning this particular island experience is exclusive. This could translate into a huge financial benefit for the cruise liner as prices can be adjusted to reflect the unique experience.

Cruise lines overall have a negative image. This is because the industry produces a lot of waste and leading companies are associated with over-tourism particularly at environmentally sensitive destinations, such as Venice. MSC’s marine reserve initiative will allow the company to begin marketing itself as being more environmentally sustainable and help to distinguish itself from the pack.  

According to GlobalData’s Consumer Survey Q3 2019, 15% of respondents stated they typically take an eco-holiday, which saw a 1% increase on the previous year which is evidence that demand for eco-tourism is slowly increasing. With its marine reserve open for business, MSC is well-placed to exploit this.

Other cruise lines are also promoting sustainability such as Royal Caribbean and Disney Cruise Line. Consequently, there will be competition for MSC Cruises, but it also shows inactivity is not an option.

Sustainable tourism’s future is bright

Because the tourism industry is vast in scale its negative environmental impact is vast. According to Nature Climate Change, a monthly peer-reviewed journal, tourism is responsible for nearly one-tenth of the world’s carbon emissions. 

Although many operators in this field are becoming more sustainable, such as the TUI Group and Virgin Atlantic, many more must follow suit if the environmental impact of tourism is to be properly addressed. 

A trend is emerging for tourists to opt for sustainable companies which means less sustainable companies will lose out to rivals. 

Additionally, if more tourism companies introduce sustainability measures then more tourists may be influenced to consider the environment when booking their holiday. Those companies which exhibit strong green credentials will then be well-placed to become market leaders.

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