Offered by certified sustainable tour operators, these tours are available across the RCL family of brands, including Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara.
Experiences range from kayaking along Mallorca’s west coast to exploring an underground Mayan river cenote in Cozumel and grape harvesting at Pizzorno Winery in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Reached and surpassed goal early
The initiative began as part of the company’s 2020 World Wildlife Fund target to offer 1,000 tours provided by operators certified to the UN-created Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) standard. The company reached and surpassed the goal nearly one year ahead of schedule.
‘Our guests are eager to explore and discover new cultures and places, and we want to do our part to ensure those destinations continue to thrive,’ said Roberta Jacoby, managing director, global tour operations, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. ‘Achieving this goal was a truly collaborative process with our motivated tour operators and with the dedicated team at Global Sustainable Tourism Council.’
Together with GSTC, RCL’s global tour operations team conducted informational sessions to educate its tour operators of the company’s commitment, the importance of certification and sustainable operations, and the process to become certified by any of GSTC’s accredited certification bodies.
Four main criteria
The GSTC criteria are organized around four main themes: effective sustainability planning, maximizing social and economic benefits for the local community, enhancing cultural heritage and reducing negative impacts to the environment.
Jim Sano, VP for conservation travel, World Wildlife Fund, called the scale and scope of RCL’s commitment to sustainable shore excursions and its accomplishments to date ‘unprecedented.’
‘This initiative not only helps advance WWF’s conservation mission, it elevates the sustainability bar for the entire travel industry,’ he said.
The team worked with GSTC-accredited certifier Travelife to provide access to training materials and reporting tools to help tour operators gain GSTC certification. Tour operators also had access to webinars and seminars at industry trade shows and are entitled to recognition on RCL brand websites and tour collateral.