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Roberta Jacoby hailed for advancing sustainable tours, making memories for millions of cruisers

CRUISE Roberta Jacoby.jpg
Roberta Jacoby led the drive to get RCL's tour operators certified to UN-created Global Sustainable Tourism Council standards
Thousands of tours, many certified as sustainable, are the legacy of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.'s global tour operations division, led by Roberta Jacoby as managing director.

The group was disbanded due to COVID-19 budget cutbacks and Jacoby left after six eventful years at RCL. She had last reported directly to Chairman and CEO Richard Fain.

Sustainable tourism leader

'Our entire industry loves and respects Roberta for her skills, her insights and her friendship. She’s a remarkable person,' Fain said. 'What she did here just on sustainable tourism helped change our company and many of our tour operators, too,' he added. 'It’s one of many contributions we’re grateful for.'

'I loved my time at Royal, getting to know the destinations and the tour operators around the globe, working with our China office, and learning and embracing the importance of sustainable tourism,' Jacoby said.

Customized tours

Excursions were crafted around high adventure, multigenerational groups, culinary/cultural and destination immersion, depending on the demographics of each RCL brand. Between Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara, more than 6,000 tours were available, spanning every continent. The global tour operations division worked with 500 tour operators.

Jacoby also oversaw Celebrity Signature Events built around major happenings like Mardi Gras, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and Monaco Grand Prix. Unique excursions were honed for president's cruises, AzAmazing Evenings and overland trips.

RCL partner World Wildlife Fund set a target for the company to offer 1,000 tours provided by operators certified to the UN-created Global Sustainable Tourism Council standard. The goal was surpassed nearly one year ahead of schedule and RCL almost doubled the target number by 2020.

New. memorable experiences for millions

'During our years working together at Royal Caribbean, Roberta and her global tour operations team negotiated and established thousands of tours throughout the world for multiple company brands, creating new and memorable experiences for millions of guests,' said Adam Goldstein, who oversaw the global tour operations division when he was RCL vice chairman.

'Roberta sustained excellent relationships with the tour operators, which motivated their responsiveness when she challenged them to achieve Global Sustainable Tourism Council certification,' he continued. 'This pioneering concept became a pillar of Royal Caribbean's publicly stated environmental and sustainability goals, and is on its way to becoming the norm in the cruise industry.'

From Russia to Mexico

Tour operators from Russia to Mexico voiced their appreciation for Jacoby's leadership and style.

'Smart, efficient, cooperative, kind, elegant' are words Helen Malchenok, general director, Arctur Travel, Russia, used to describe Jacoby. Working together, they took on great challenges, with successful results. Malchenok said the two never had enough time together in business meetings for all they aspired to achieve, and they joked that if women/mothers led countries, it might be possible to have peace on earth.

For Trino Molina, director general of Mexico's Aviomar, Jacoby is a 'great leader, not only to her team but to the cruise community.' She inspired Aviomar to achieve environmental sustainability, not only sharing the vision and setting a goal, Molina said, 'but giving us the tools, resources and helping us along the way. She inspired us to trust and to think differently, and challenged us to operate differently to achieve the same level of operation but considering many aspects of the environment.'

Legendary career

'Roberta has left a lasting and positive legacy across nearly the entire cruise industry landscape, from air/sea to training to hotel operations to strategy to tour operations and more,' Goldstein said, counting Jacoby's contributions as a senior leader at Carnival Corp. & plc before joining RCL. 'I thoroughly enjoyed working with Roberta and congratulate her on a legendary cruise industry career.'

Global tour operations duties reallocated

RCL's global tour operations functions have been reallocated, with the product function going to the brands, the sustainability aspect to the corporate responsibility team, the shore excursion safety initiative to risk management and the multimedia component split between the brands and the digital group.