Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Ecological Indicators






School of Business and Law


National Social Science Foundation of China


Sun, R., Ye, X., Li, Q., & Scott, N. (2024). Assessing the eco-efficiency of cruise tourism at the national Level: Determinants, challenges, and opportunities for sustainable development. Ecological Indicators, 160, article 111768.


In the face of the cruise industry's rapid global expansion and its significant interplay with national tourism, economic growth, and environmental conservation, a notable gap exists in comprehensively evaluating its eco-efficiency. This study aims to fill this gap by implementing a novel analytical framework, merging the undesirable slack-based measure (SBM) model with fraction regression model (FRM) analysis. This approach is designed to dissect the complex relationship between economic development, environmental impact, and resource consumption in the context of cruise tourism. The study applies this integrated methodology to data from 11 countries, spanning from 2010 to 2018. The findings reveal marked differences in eco-efficiency across nations, with Australia and Japan standing out for their exemplary practices in natural ecology management and balanced cruise ship development. On the other hand, nations like Italy and Singapore, while supportive of the cruise industry, exhibit areas for improvement in market expansion and leveraging regional advantages. The research also brings to light the dual challenge for developing countries, such as China and Brazil, in balancing economic gains from cruise tourism with environmental concerns. A significant revelation of this study is the substantial influence of a nation's per capita GDP and the rigor of environmental regulations on eco-efficiency in cruise tourism. This highlights the critical role of economic stability and policy frameworks in steering the industry towards sustainability. Interestingly, factors like foreign trade, industrial structure, and R&D investments appear to have a less pronounced impact on eco-efficiency. Moreover, the study presents a structured approach to enhance sustainability in the cruise industry, categorizing countries by eco-efficiency and returns to scale. This categorization leads to tailored recommendations for each group, focusing on the unique challenges and strengths of different nations, thus promoting effective, targeted strategies for sustainable development. Overall, the study provides a comprehensive framework for evaluating and enhancing sustainability practices in this rapidly growing industry. It also outlines potential areas for future research, considering the limitations of the current approach, thereby paving the way for further exploration into the sustainable evolution of cruise tourism.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.