Flagship Project

Cruise ship

Facilitate sustainable shore excursions of cruise ship operators in the Baltic Sea

Shore excursions are an indisputable highlight for many cruise passengers. Sustainable shore excursions not only create unforgettable impressions, but can also have a positive social and cultural impact in a region. For example, they can support economic development, promote the preservation of environmental and cultural heritage, and provide livelihoods for local citizens. By signing the UN WTO code of ethics for tourism in 2012, AIDA Cruises underlined its commitment to sustainable tourism. This commitment is being practically implemented within the project, “Sustainable Shore Excursions,” which is a co-operation between AIDA Cruises, Futouris e.V. and the State Chancellery of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in Schwerin. The main goal of this project is to develop sustainability criteria for shore excursions using the Baltic Sea as an example.

Meanwhile standardized criteria for sustainable shore excursions have been developed  as part of a joint project between AIDA Cruises, the sustainability initiative Futouris e.V. and the State Chancellery of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, which coordinates activities in the Priority Area Tourism of the EU Strategy for Baltic Sea Region. Eighteen of about 90 AIDA shore excursion options in the Baltic Sea Region have already obtained the sustainability seal.

Whether a guided city walk through Tallinn, a bike excursion in Helsinki, or a pedelec tour to Copenhagen - AIDA excursions in the Baltic Sea Region that meet the social, ecological, and cultural criteria are now being specifically marked with a tree symbol. AIDA guests can thus easily identify which options are particularly sustainable well before their voyage when they are booking their excursions on MyAIDA. The new assessment model will be expanded gradually to additional destinations and other cruise operators.
By introducing standards for assessing the sustainability of shore excursions the project gives a clear signal to commissioned local agency to engage in sustainable product development. The four main criteria for assessing the individual shore excursion options include transport services, the content as well as the main focus of the excursion (e.g. culture, nature, etc.), the dining options and the local partner agency's commitment to sustainability. The assessment also considers numerous subitems. With respect to the transport component, preventing CO2 emissions is the primary focus. Bike excursions leaving directly from the ship are thus scored higher than using low-emission buses. If the commissioned local agency offsets the CO2 emissions produced by an excursion, then this also positively impacts the assessment. Nature excursions are also scored particularly high on sustainability if, for example, a trained ranger tells the visitors about wildlife conservation and special aspects. Dining options is another main topic. Sustainable excursions are focused on using regional products for local specialties. Complying with minimum standards for staff according to the core labor standards of the ILO (International Labour Organization), also plays an important role in the catalog of criteria.


Manager Sustainability
Gela Gudlat

Lead Partner

AIDA Cruises
Am Strande 3d
18055 Rostock