A Comparison of Values around Cruise Tax in Iceland and Alaska
Johnson Timothy L
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Cruise ships pose many environmental harms: they emit more black carbon and CO₂ per passenger-mile than any other vehicle, discharge untreated sewage and wastewater into the open ocean, carry large quantities of heavy fuel oil onboard, and transport invasive species via ballast water. As the Arctic Ocean melts and becomes more accessible to marine vessels, cruise lines have taken advantage of the “last chance tourism” phenomenon and increased the numbers of cruise ships that tour the Arctic. Without sufficient regulation, the influx of cruise ships could create negative impacts for the Arctic environment. In this study I use Alaska’s Cruise Ship Tax Initiative as a model for cruise regulation and examine the high-level values that would influence Icelanders to adopt a similar, explicitly environmental per-passenger cruise tax. To determine the values to which advocates of a cruise tax should appeal, we interviewed twenty policymakers and stakeholders in Ísafjörður and Reykjavík, Iceland with the laddering method. As an extension of the study I interviewed one government administrator and one cruise tax advocate in Southeast Alaska to compile lessons learned from the implementation of the Alaska Cruise Ship Tax Initiative. The values from each location were compared to find which lessons would be relevant for Icelanders. The value categories that would influence the tax’s implementation were good governance, cultural richness, quality of life, regional survival, economic growth, nature’s inherent value and resource-based life. Icelandic participants showed low faith in government’s efficacy – i.e. ability to do what it says it will do – and expressed concerns that dependence on tourism and the national government’s marginalization of the Westfjords could negatively impact regional survival. Overall, sustainable tourism development and environmental protection of natural areas were favored by Icelandic interviewees. To advocate a per-passenger environmental tax, stakeholders and policymakers could emphasize the tax’s capacity to encourage sustainable tourism development by building environmental infrastructure (especially paths and waste treatment facilities) and limiting mass tourism. Based on Alaskan experiences, Icelanders should strongly reconsider their dismissal of monitoring if they want to ensure a pristine environment.
CitationStith, Michaela (n.d.). A Comparison of Values around Cruise Tax in Iceland and Alaska. Capstone project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/17145.
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Rights for Collection: Undergraduate Honors Theses and Student papers