Sustainability trends for the expedition cruise sector

Sustainability trends for the expedition cruise sector

Anthony Daniels, general manager of Hurtigruten, outlines three key trends the industry should follow this year to support growth and keep passengers happy

Anthony Daniels, general manager of Hurtigruten, outlines three key trends the industry should follow this year to support growth and keep passengers happy

It’s been a challenging two years for the travel industry, and while there have been several lockdowns and numerous restarts, one thing that hasn’t changed is the desire to travel.

From reconnecting with friends and family after months or even years of separation from one another, to catch-up travel targeted at those looking to make up for lost time, there are plenty of trends emerging to inspire future travel.

For me, there are three key trends that expedition cruise should consider in 2022 to support growth and deliver guest satisfaction.

Anthony Daniels. Image courtesy of Hurtigruten

The Conscious Traveller

Lockdown provided many with the opportunity to reflect on the impact travel can have on the natural world around them, so it’s not surprising that 83 per cent of travellers believe that sustainable travel is vital (2021 Sustainability Report, We know the hunger for travel is there, but customers want to do so responsibly, and they are looking for like-minded brands to help them achieve this. They are even willing to pay more if they know their stay will have a positive impact on the environment.

For 2022 and beyond, we’re expecting to see a lot of consumers shift towards ‘the conscious traveller’ mindset. With 40 per cent of travellers only wanting to use brands they trust (GWI Travel Trends, 2022), it’s imperative that companies are fully transparent about their sustainable credentials. At Hurtigruten, we recognised the need to forge ahead in sustainable cruising years ago.

We launched the world’s first sustainable cruise ships, MS Roald Amundsen and MS Fridtjof Nansen, to lead the way towards emission-free sailing. Most recently, we partnered with Volvo Penta to test a new hybrid vessel that will allow guests to experience the wonders of the Arctic Archipelago without disturbing the habitat around them.

Hurtigruten’s MS Roald Amundsen

Regenerative travel

Since COP26, regenerative travel has gathered even more momentum than ever before. Recent Amex Trendex research shows that 50 per cent of travellers say they have become more interested in responsible tourism and 87 per cent want to have a positive impact on the community they are visiting. We’re starting to see that consumers are more inclined to make the extra effort to leave a place they visited in a better condition than when they arrived.

This aligns well with how Hurtigruten engages and interacts with the local communities where we operate, as well as our push for a ban on heavy fuel oil and single use plastics. We have an onboard science programme, Citizen Science, to help inform and give advice to our customers on the destinations they are sailing to.

Slow travel

While many rush to get on holiday, some travellers are starting to favour slow travel, as it is not only a sustainable way to explore, but also an opportunity to truly appreciate the destinations they are visiting. From witnessing beautiful coastlines to spotting incredible wildlife, expedition cruises can travel at a pace that suits the slow traveller who wants to experience as much of a destination as possible, but in a responsible way. With regular landings, there’s also the opportunity for guests to get a taste for the destination up close and connect with the local culture and nature.

Galapagos. ©kjorgen-iStock-GettyImages

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