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Cruise Tourism

"Cruise Tourism Impacts in Costa Rica and Honduras: Policy Recommendations for Decision Makers"

Since early 2005, CREST (formerly CESD), in partnership with INCAE Business School of Costa Rica and Environmental Defense, has been taking a close look at cruise tourism in Belize, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Costa Maya, Mexico. Through thousands of cruise passenger surveys and several hundred interviews with those directly involved in the tourism industry, the Center has collected data on cruise tourism's economic social and environmental impacts. Careful analysis of firsthand views, combined with detailed review of the industry's economic data, indicate a real need for improvements to the way cruise tourism is typically handled throughout the region.

Download the full report in English (PDF, 78 pp.)
Download the full report in Spanish (PDF)


"Cruise Tourism in Belize: Perceptions of Economic, Social and Environmental Impacts"

This study of perceived impacts of cruise tourism was made possible through a partnership between CREST (formerly CESD), the INCAE Business School of Costa Rica, the Belize Tourism Board (BTB), and Belize’s Protected Areas Conservation Trust (PACT). The study examines the terrestrial impacts – economic, social and environmental – of cruise tourism as they are viewed in Belize. It is based on field research, carried out in 2005 using academic protocols, involving over 600 surveys with cruise passengers and over 100 interviews with a range of stakeholders in Belize. Through analysis of cruise passenger and exit surveys (the latter conducted in 2003 by the Belize Tourism Board and Central Bank of Belize), the study compares spending patterns, activities, perceptions and preferences of cruise and stayover visitors. It also compares the history, policy making, and public debate around cruise tourism and ecotourism, while comparing the two with respect to employment, taxes, and generated public revenue.

Download the Full Report (PDF, 143 pp.)
Download the Executive Summary (PDF)


2004 Travelers' Philanthropy Conference Proceedings

In April 2004, CREST (then CESD) hosted a major conference on Travelers' Philanthropy at Stanford University, in California. This conference brought together nearly 80 tour operators, UN officials, academics, foundation representatives, and NGOs to discuss how to best harness tourists' interest in giving back to the often impoverished communities that they visit. Through a combination of "time, talent, and treasure," participants learned, there are many ways to work constructively with host communities. However, poorly planned projects can result in unintended negative consequences. This packet of conference proceedings includes a CDROM of powerpoint presentations, bios for conference presenters, a directory of existing philanthropic activities, and more.

Available in CD-ROM and hard copy ($25). To purchase, please contact Laura Driscoll at lrd@stanford.edu


"Consumer Demand and Operator Support for Socially and Environmentally Responsible Ecotourism"

Despite recent setbacks to the international tourism industry, including economic recession, disease outbreaks, terrorist attacks, and the war on terrorism, both consumers and travel companies show strong support for responsible tourism. Through a survey of recent studies of tourists and tour operators in the US, Europe, Costa Rica, and Australia, this report by Zoe Chafe shows that consumers are willing to pay more for ethical practices, contribute to community projects, and support tourism certification programs. It discusses responsible tourism challenges, such as confusions from competing eco-labels; and conundrums, including tourists' professed interest in using hotels that protect the environment, yet lack of inquiry about hotel policies. A four page summary of this report is also available.

Available for free in .pdf or as a hard copy ($6).

Download Report (PDF, 20 pp.)


"Rights and Responsibilities: A Compilation of Codes of Conduct for Tourism and Indigenous and Local Communities"

Abstract: Today a number of organizations around the globe are addressing, either wholly or as part of their mission, the relationship between visitors and hosts. Evolving ground rules for this relationship are the subject of a wide range of codes of conduct written by the UN, national governments, international financial and development agencies, non-governmental organizations, tour operators, indigenous rights groups and porters associations. This publication is an effort to collate and synthesize many of these codes of conduct. While selective and far from complete, it is representative of the range of rules and rights that have been laid out by international agencies, indigenous peoples, and responsible sectors of the tourism and ecotourism industry.

Available for free in .pdf (260 pgs), by CD-ROM ($12) or in hard copy ($20).

To request a copy, contact Laura Driscoll at lrd@stanford.edu


"Protecting Eden: Setting Green Standards for the Tourism Industry" (Martha Honey)

During the last 30 years, the global environmental movement and mounting concerns over the negative effects of conventional tourism-such as the loss of habitats and endangered wildlife -have given rise to the concept of ecotourism. In this time, more than 70 "green" certification programs have been developed, setting ecofriendly standards and, in some cases, measuring ecotourism's benefits to local communities and the environment. To date, however, these programs are voluntary and costly, and their standards are often subjective and imprecise. There is a growing consensus over the need for an accreditation body to help assess and standardize these certification programs.

Available from: Environment Magazine, Volume 45, Number 6, July/August 2003.


"Giving a Grade to Costa Rica's Green Tourism"

Martha Honey explains how in the late 1980s, Costa Rica was turned from a staging ground for the US-funded contra war into a laboratory for "green" tourism. By 1993, tourism had become Costa Rica's number one foreign exchange earner, surpassing coffee and bananas. And, propelled by ecotourism, environmentalism had taken root in the national consciousness-just as a tradition of nonmilitarism had done earlier. Ecotourism has become part of a Costa Rican "self-identity." However, the "ecotourism" label is also slapped on "greenwashed" scams, but two certification programs help tourists find the real thing. Despite the green brush that is dragged over many hypes and shams, Costa Rica also contains scores of genuine ecotourism businesses that are working hard to be low impact, good environmental stewards, socially responsible, culturally respectful, and beneficial to surrounding communities.

Can be found in NACLA Report on the Americas, Volume 36, Number 6, May/June 2003.


To purchase a publication, please contact David Krantz at dkrantz@responsibletravel.org