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N° 45, 2020 - Cruise Tourism: Challenges and Prospects

Deadline for abstract submission: April, 20th 2020

Cruise Tourism: Challenges and Prospects

The objective of this thematic issue is to provide an overview of cruise tourism in the world through spatial logics, economic and environmental challenges as well as industry/host territories linkages. The idea is to understand recent developments by proposing both critical and constructive researches. The liners gigantism and massification of practices have been determined: the average capacity of the ships is now 3,300 beds and the mega-cruise ships(over 220,000 tonnes) boast 6,000 beds. But the offer is diversifying, reorganising and growing more complex, particularly with the development of niche sectors and river cruises.

Cruise tourism is a booming sector of activity: The number of passengers increased from 23.3 million in 2015 to 28.2 million in 2018 with an expected increase of 6% in 2019, which will enable the industry to reach 30 million passengers. 314 ships were in operation at the end of 2018 and 67 others are under construction for 2019-2020. While most of the activity remains focused on the traditional privileged basins of the Caribbean seas (the leading cruise market, 33.7% of customers), the Mediterranean and the Baltic, it is spreading throughout the world, from the distant Pacific Ocean to the shores of the China Sea, from Alaska to Patagonia.

This spatial distribution is accompanied by an evolution of customers as well as new versions of the cruise product in addition to a segmentation. The market remains dominated by North American (52%) and secondarily European (23%) customers, but their relative share is declining in the face of cruises success within emerging economies.

Key Themes:

The cruise study is considered from a triple angle:

  • Cruise areas:

    • The cruise geographical boundaries and recent developments through the study of flows, circuits, departure port and stopovers;

    • Cruise basins and circuits, their similarities and specificities;

    • New development areas - northern and river regions;

    • Socio-territorial and cultural impacts on the living spaces of host communities.

  • The economic aspects of cruises:

    • Cruise revenues, cruise economic benefits in regard to investments, cruise benefits (nature of consumption, distribution of expenses, etc.);

    • The study of cruise lines that dominate the cruise industry;

    • Economic issues for stopovers and host territories, development strategies;

    • Economic containment strategies - tourist villages, private islands.

  • The environmental dimension:

    • The environmental impact of cruise ships (fuels, wastewater, waste, fine particulate emissions in port areas) and recent innovations (ISO 14001);

    • The challenges imposed by the ships’ gigantic size in reception areas (ports, small islands, historic cities, etc.);

    • Impacts of cruise operator deployment activities on host territories;

    • Alternatives, diverse practices and critical approaches ;

    • The development of niche sectors;

    • Alternative cruises (voluntourism, scientists, etc.);

    • River and isolated region cruise tourism;

    • Resistance movements at destination level;

    • Power relations between the different stakeholders;

    • Security issues.


  • April 20, 2020: receipt of articles;

  • May-June 2020: evaluation of the texts by the scientific committee;

  • July-August 2020: finalisation of the texts by the authors

  • October 2020: publication of the thematic issue


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