“Cruises have become fundamentally important to the tourism industry. Since 1995 ship passenger numbers have multiplied almost tenfold – and are continuing to rise“, is how Norbert Fiebig, president of the German Travel Association (DRV), described the cruise industry’s huge growth at a press conference at ITB Berlin 2019.
However, the booming cruising industry has come under pressure from environmental groups, whose accusation is that ocean-going liners in particular cause substantial air pollution. In terms of the environmental impact from tourism, the cruise industry’s share is comparatively low, and the same goes for the global shipping industry. In 2018 28.5 million people went on cruises, which according to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer 2018 equated to two percent of global tourism.
More and more shipping lines are planning to build ships which are more sustainable and environmentally friendly in order to reduce their carbon footprint. New ships which no longer run on heavy fuel oil but on liquid natural gas (LNG) instead are a step in the right direction. This eliminates SOx and PM emissions completely and NOx emissions by up to 70 per cent.
The Aida Nova, the first cruise liner powered solely by LNG, went into service in December 2018. According to the CLIA, another 25 ocean liners powered by this environmentally friendly fuel are due to follow by 2027. Aida for instance is introducing two more ships in 2021 and 2023. Carnival Cruises Lines, Costa Crociere, Disney Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Royal Caribbean and TUI Cruises have also ordered liners with this environmentally friendly technology. Hurtigruten launched the first ship to feature hybrid systems last year. Lithium ion batteries provide additional power for its diesel engines, so that the ship can run electrically for 30 minutes, thus reducing harmful emissions. Hurtigruten intends to fit two more ships with fully fledged hybrid systems by 2021.
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