Geneva, Switzerland, 28 January 2020 – Demonstrating a continued dedication to the environment, MSC Cruises, the world’s fastest growing cruise line, has today unveiled not only a series of carefully selected shore excursions specifically designed to help protect and preserve Earth’s natural beauty but also set specific objectives for local tour operator partners to become internationally certified under the Global Sustainable Tourism Council certification program. These unique excursions are an integral part of MSC Cruises’ mission to offer guests an environmentally conscious holiday. The new PROTECTOURS program offers MSC Cruises’ guests a chance to discover destinations like never before, while making a positive contribution to the planet through activities aimed to help protect and preserve through a growing list of 25+ tours.
PROTECTOURS gives guests the chance to enjoy original insights into the natural world while at the same time preserving its beauty and helping to ensure a greener future, from the ultimate forest hike with rescued dogs in Jamaica in the Caribbean to meeting urban honey bees in Corfu or helping to keep Croatia’s beautiful bays and beaches clean during a snorkelling experience. What sets these tours apart is the exceptional service and element of onshore adventure that guests are accustomed to receiving on MSC Cruises excursions, with added close contact with nature in a variety of environments around the world.
MSC Cruises’ became the first global cruise line to become carbon neutral across marine operations at the start of the year. This commitment to the environment naturally extends to onshore activities too with PROTECTOURS. These tours serve two purposes: firstly, they offer an opportunity for MSC Cruises to empower their tour partners to diversify their offering to include more sustainable activities and secondly influencing them to operate their business in a sustainable manner and become engaged in a Global Sustainable Tourism Council certification program by the end of 2020. These tours are the first in what MSC Cruises hopes will be a long line of PROTECTOURS, therefore developing not only the choice for guests but a growing positive impact on the environment.
According to a new trends report from MSC Cruises, The Future of the Guest Experience as the climate changes, guests are seeking ever more efficient and eco-conscious holiday options, with sustainability, social impact and civic engagement at the forefront of people’s minds. More than half of Generation Z consumers (54%) say that the environmental impact of travelling on destinations is an important factor when deciding where to travel and offering opportunities for civic engage, such as PROTECTOURS, will not only help the destination in question, but help eliminate the guilt that guests may feel when travelling.
The tours will be offered across multiple regions around the world, with highlights including:
PROTECTOURS - Animal Haven Rescued Dogs Forest Hike, Jamaica:
This half day experience allows guests to not only hike with rescued dogs from the Montego Bay Animal Haven but also to learn about Tammy Browne’s great work in rescuing these animals and contribute to their lives. The Montego Bay Animal Haven was established by Tammy Browne, to help educate the local people about the overpopulation of street animals and help take the dogs off the streets. They have followed their mission of combating this issue by providing help to communities with spay and neutering clinics, feeding stations, educational programs, and animal rescues.
The dogs at the Haven are lovingly called ‘hooligans’. Each one of them has suffered from either: starvation, dehydration, injury, or abuse. Once rehabilitated, the farm’s dogs personify the ecstasy of a second chance at life. Experience their exhilaration, rejuvenated excitement, and happiness as you walk or run with a pack of 50 to 100 dogs over lush Jamaican terrain. The Montego Bay Animal Haven Farm fosters these adorable hooligans until they are found new homes locally and abroad. Come meet some real heroes and learn their stories while hiking with the Hooligans!
PROTECTOURS - Discover the magical world of bees in Corfu, Greece:
Corfu is known for its beautiful countryside and here, in this idyllic landscape, guests will immerse themselves in the magic world of bees, learning all about these vital insects. Recently named “the most important living being on earth” by the Royal Geographical Society, bees live in a complex and rich society that guests will discover in detail.
After leaving the ship, guests travel south towards beautiful Lake Korission and Bioporos Farm, where they'll get up close with honey bees. With full safety equipment provided, guests will meet this wonderful insect, learning about the dangers it faces and its importance for our ecosystem. Following the encounter, they’ll dine in Bioporos Restaurant, the only fully organic restaurant in Corfu. Guests will also leave with a unique gift, a sesame bar and 100g of local honey to commemorate their experience.
PROTECTOURS - Desert conservation in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates:
Guests seeking a desert adventure will want to opt for the “Desert conservation” tour, where over the course of six hours, they will help preserve the unique landscape of the United Arab Emirates. Each year thousands of locals and tourists visit the desert for relaxation, leisure and adventure, but sadly many traces are left behind in the form of litter, tyres, car batteries and other waste that is damaging to the fragile ecosystem.
Through this excursion, guests will have a chance to “save” the desert, following an expert guide as they drive deep into the desert. Not only will guests experience all that the desert has to offer in terms of natural splendour, but they will be able to actively maintain it by collecting waste and restoring the environment. Towards the end of their journey, they will stop in the Hala Oasis for an authentic Arabian dinner.
PROTECTOURS - Iceland on horseback with tree planting in Reykjavik, Iceland:
Iceland is known for its powerful and unique landscapes, and guests will have a chance to discover the countryside for themselves, as they saddle up on a Viking-age Icelandic horse and trek into the scenic wilderness of lava fields and green hillsides, rich with birdlife. These special horses are unique in their docile and friendly temperament, as well as their medium size and thick coat. Unique to the island, an age-old law forbids the import of horses and bars any horse that leaves Iceland from ever returning, therefore preserving the over generations.
Following the trek, guests journey to Guðmundarlundur forest, where they will be met by forester from the Kópavogur Forestry Association, who will guide them in planting a tree firsthand, aiding the forestry service's efforts to help conserve this unique area and simultaneously contributing to lowering carbon emissions.
To find out more about the new Protectours visit www.msccruises.co.uk/cruises/excursions/sustainable-shore-excursions
Learn more about MSC Cruises’ environmental stewardship practices at www.msccruises.co.uk/about/sustainability.