5 Ways Cruise Lines Are Becoming More Environmentally Friendly

© (Getty Images) Cruises

Tourism is typically perceived as having a positive economic impact on a region, with visitors spending money on hotels, restaurants, souvenirs and attractions. Travelers can also bring notoriety to lesser-known destinations, creating additional opportunities for future tourism.

However, this kind of growth can become a strain on a region or destination when too much tourism and too many people negatively impact the environment. Ocean reefs are one example: Many of them are dying in part due to snorkelers and divers getting too close to the coral. Meanwhile, European cities like Venice and Amsterdam face congested streets as cruise ships bring thousands of tourists to these popular destinations, leading to overcrowding and pollution.

Overtourism, and the subsequent contribution that extensive travel may have on climate change, has become an increasing concern among both consumers and industry leaders. Cruise Lines International Association, the world's largest cruise industry association, says the number of global ocean cruise passengers increased from 17.8 million in 2009 to 26.7 million in 2017. And the number of U.S. cruise passengers alone increased from 10.4 million in 2009 to 12.4 million in 2017, according to a 2019 report by Deloitte & Touche. CLIA estimates that the total number of global cruise passengers will reach 30 million by the end of 2019.

Cruise lines, some of which have ships rivaling the size of small cities, are responding to....

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