Cozumel – Cruise ship shore activity development strategy and action plan
Cruise ships bring millions of passengers each year to some of the Mesoamerican Reef’s most sensitive ecosystems. Cruise destinations in this region often lack the management and infrastructure needed to ensure that these high numbers of visitors do not negatively affect coastal and marine ecosystems. This situation has resulted in increasing stress on environmental and cultural resources in many of the cruise ship ports of call in the Mesoamerican Reef Ecoregion.
To address this challenge, Conservation International launched a project focused on encouraging and assisting cruise industry stakeholders – government, cruise companies, local private sector, and civil society – in Cozumel to form new, innovative partnerships focused on minimizing the coastal and marine habitat degradation associated with cruise tourism in these destinations.
SW Associates was commissioned to help bring cruise industry stakeholders together to protect the very natural resources that make these cruise destinations so attractive. These stakeholders each play a role and bear a responsibility to effectively manage cruise tourism. Scott advised on the design and helped lead the facilitation of planning meetings and a workshop for a participatory process comprised of two parts:
1) Focus group meetings with each key local stakeholder groups, i.e. local government, private sector, civil society and the cruise companies aimed at: (i) sharing exemplary destination stewardship cases; (ii) discussing their perceptions of their respective role in more effectively managing cruise-passenger visits in Belize; maximizing environmental, cultural, and societal benefits; and minimizing negative impacts, and (iii) exploring ideas on how each stakeholder group can play a proactive role in more effectively managing cruise- visitor impacts.
2) A multi-stakeholder participatory planning workshop involving all key stakeholder groups, to identify common priorities and possible actions for improving management cruise-ship passengers.
The initiative was based on From Ship to Shore: Sustainable Stewardship in Cruise Destinations. Scott was a main contributor to the report for Conservation International. This publication examines the complexities of the shared responsibilities among cruise lines, governments, civil society groups and shore operators to manage the growth and expansion of the cruise industry. Within these pages, we profile leading examples of how these stakeholders can all play a part in both ensuring a sustainable future for cruise tourism and maintaining the natural and cultural integrity of cruise destinations.