In May, during the 2019 edition of European Maritime Week, Fipra hosted the workshop ‘How to transform mass tourism into sustainable tourism for local communities’, which brought together MEP Gesine Meissner along with speakers such as Salli Felton, CEO of the Travel Foundation and Ukko Metsola, VP for Government Relations of RCCL.

With sustainable tourism being a top priority for both destinations and the tourism industry alike, the workshop explored various projects that are helping destinations to better understand the ‘invisible burden of tourism’. Jeremy Sampson, from IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation, which has been developing the Ecological Footprint, revealed that in some tourist destinations almost two-thirds of the impact of tourism came from production and sourcing of food and drink.

Moderated by Fipra’s Special Advisor for Maritime, John Richardson, the audience had the opportunity to ask the various panelists pertinent questions on the topic of sustainable tourism, including what a cruise line thought about the fact cruise passengers were detrimental for some local economies where they spend less than tourists arriving by plane, for example. “Cruise tourists can actually be quality tourists and studies show also quite high spenders” explained Metsola. In terms of the environment, RCCL places a lot of importance on the education of their passengers, which is part of their continuous improvement in destination stewardship initiative, along with a commitment to have 100% land tours they offer guests verified by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council in the near future.
See John’s reflections on the day here.

The workshop also included speakers from various NGOs including Leticia Ortega Madrigal (ALTER ECO), Jeremy Sampson (IUCN MED), Roberto Grassi (ArcoLatino).

For more on the workshop, its outcomes or its speakers, please contact