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Our Award-Winning Sustainable Tour Criteria

Sustainable Tour Criteria

At Seatrade Cruise Global 2019, Intercruises was selected from numerous entries and three ultimate finalists as the winner of a pitch competition for its Sustainable Tour Criteria concept. This step towards more sustainable shorex operations was described by the cruise line judges as a “scalable and well documented process”. Here we look in more detail at the concept.


The Sustainable Tour Criteria was developed with the following five objectives: 

  • Promote sustainable principles 
  • Protect the destination 
  • Foster a sensible use of local resources 
  • Benefit the local economy 
  • Engage the destination community

Arantxa Garcia, Head of Sustainable Development, led the creation of the Sustainable Tour Criteria and has worked in sustainable development for over a decade. “Mass tourism is an issue that cannot be ignored, with local communities becoming more concerned regarding the impact of tourists in a destination. As an industry we must be responsible for how we operate and become more sustainable. The Sustainable Tour Criteria is a practical process that can be implemented in all destinations worldwide to help ensure a more sustainable future for cruise tourism.”


Eight Assessment Areas

The criteria encompasses all possible aspects of a tour, which are categorized into different areas that are analyzed in terms sustainability, such as: 


  • Transport: Is the vehicle the optimum seating capacity for the tour group size?
  • Food & Drink: Is the cuisine traditional for the location and was it produced locally?
  • Local Community: Is the supplier a local employer and is it a local/family run business?
  • Environmental Impact: How do we ensure no waste is left behind?
The below diagram shows the eight areas:

Assessment Process – A Team Effort 

A central team of Intercruises sustainable development experts created an online shore excursion assessment form focusing on each of the criteria's eight areas. This form is completed by local teams for all shore excursions worldwide, with results sent to the central team of sustainable development experts for review. They will then define which shore excursions can be considered sustainable and responsible, making recommendations on actions that can be taken to make a shore excursion more sustainable. 


“Making the Sustainable Tour Criteria successful is a team effort, with our local teams and central team of sustainable development experts working together to audit of a huge catalogue of tours. However it is bigger than this and ultimately all tour stakeholders need to be involved, from a transport supplier and local farmer, right through to the cruise lines and ultimately the cruise guests, who are demanding a more responsible form of tourism.” 

Sustainable Tour Criteria – Next Steps 

 At Intercruises the Sustainable Tour Criteria is being rolled out worldwide. “We are excited to be able to implement this criteria as it gives us the chance to really have a positive impact on the communities and destinations in which we work, with every new tour designed considering sustainable development principles. The implementation of this criteria is exactly the direction we need to be going in to make our industry and the world a better place.” 


For more information on Intercruises and the Sustainable Tour Criteria, including sustainable shore excursion examples, sign up for our monthly newsletter here: https://www.intercruises.com/news