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Intercruises achieves GSTC certification for shore excursion development

Intercruises Shoreside & Port Services achieved Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) certification for its sustainability management system (SMS) and experiences development process.

The company expects the majority of its shore excursions to be GSTC-certified by 2023.

As part of its ongoing certification plan, Intercruises successfully completed onsite and online audits carried out by Control Union, an independent third-party global certification organization accredited by the GSTC.


Virginia Quintairos

Cruise lines can offer GSTC-certified excursions to guests

'With this certification, we are driving our sustainability agenda and can now further support our partners’ sustainability efforts, providing GSTC-certified shore excursions that cruise lines can offer to guests and help them make more sustainable choices,' said Virginia Quintairos, business development director, Intercruises. 'Our goal is to have our own shore excursions portfolio — thousands of experiences around the world — certified against the GSTC Criteria within the next 12 to 18 months.'

In a GSTC-certified shore excursion, all destination partners and operations processes have been assessed against the GSTC Criteria to ensure a more sustainable approach. Once the tours are certified by Intercruises, cruise lines will be able to promote them as GSTC-certified.

Thousands of excursions in hundreds of ports

Operating in more than 50 countries and offering thousands of shore excursions in hundreds of ports, Intercruises claims to be the first international shore excursion provider to achieve GSTC certification for its SMS and experiences development process, which were developed in-house.

'By gaining certification for each of their regional locations, Intercruises is taking a practical and meaningful step in external verification of sustainable practices in their operations,' according to GSTC CEO Randy Durband. 'Their clients can be assured of a significant degree of sustainability, which will have an ongoing positive impact.'

Entire supply chain

Intercruises’ central sustainability team, working with local destination teams and partners, uses the SMS combined with the GSTC Criteria to monitor and evaluate the entire supply chain for shore excursions. This includes activity and tour operators, restaurants, venues, guides and transportation providers, and is part of an ongoing feedback loop to continually enhance destination sustainability.

Intercruises’ sustainability experts will provide a detailed report and advice to all individual destination partners on how to enhance their specific practices to be part of GSTC-certified shore excursions, and on how to become GSTC-certified themselves. Additionally, partners have access to an online platform where they can find sustainability best practices based on their specific activities.

Full transparency

The Intercruises SMS was developed in-house and is built on established digital platforms, which enables scalability and guarantees that data cannot be manipulated. Furthermore, the system promises full transparency, with all data accessible to the entire Intercruises team, and key dashboards available both for their internal teams and clients to view.

The majority of Intercruises' shore excursions will be evaluated in the system during 2022, with the aim of having a large portfolio of GSTC-certified shore excursions available to cruise lines in 2023.

Quintairos will be speaking at Seatrade Cruise Global on 'The Changing Dynamic of Shore Excursions' panel at 1:15 p.m. April 25. The full conference program is here


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