The tourism industry has many unexplored opportunities when it comes to responsible business, supporting sustainable development in the countries where it operates, and helping clients travel with a cleaner conscience.
However, after reading about Carnival's plan to put a sort of hybrid cruise for rural development in motion (an example of which has cruise ship passengers installing water infrastructure for local residents in the Dominican Republic), I couldn't help but wonder how demand-driven their plan was.
I commend Carnival for trying to contribute to the communities in which it does business. I also applaud all steps towards reducing the negative social and environmental impacts of tourism. I just wonder what other options we might have when it comes to socially responsible business. Can we help cruise passengers get engaged with more than just water pipes? Is there potential to develop projects in collaboration with Dominicans that might lead to long-term local growth?
The tourism industry is an exciting place for brainstorming. This is partially because it still has a ways to go when it comes to embracing local residents as well as visitors, minimizing negative environmental impact, and increasing transparency in international supply chains. Businesses in the industry would certainly benefit from educating themselves about existing local needs.
Piping water might be the answer - but it also might not. What might Carnival do that could foster long-term prosperity in vacation destinations? How might they help residents put their eggs in more than just the tourism basket?
Let's follow what happens, discuss outcomes, and learn from our successes and mistakes.