For years Venetians have bitterly complained about the problems of over-tourism. In particular, cruise ships are threatening not only their way of life but the city itself. We ran across an article from the Daily Mail UK reporting that cruise ships will eventually be banned from docking in Venice.
Why it isn’t a surprise.
Recently, widely-reported accidents involving cruise ships have brought attention to the problem. In June MSC Opera, half the size of many ships smashed into a dock and struck Uniworld River Countess with four minor injuries aboard Uniworld. The MSC collision came on the heels of a collision in Budapest with 27 lives lost involving the Viking Sigyn and a local tourist vessel.
Venice, with a population of about 55,000, can attract 60,000 visitors a day. On some days half of them arrive on cruise ships, spend little, and don’t stay overnight in a local hotel. The wakes from cruise ships damage the delicate wooden foundations of buildings. Besides, there are ecological concerns about the ships endangering the health of the lagoon surrounding Venice.
What happens now?
The move toward a total ban will be gradual. By next year one-third of ship arrivals will be at ports well away from the city in places like Fusina and Lombardia terminals, three miles away on the mainland.
Early this year the city announced that it would impose a system for charging tourists for entry to the city. The fee had been initially set to be between two and five euros but can increase as much as ten euros in high season.
Through the years we’ve been fortunate to have visited Venice several times. On our trip a couple of years ago, because of overcrowding, we agreed the visit would be our last in high season.
We applaud the Venetians for standing up and the Italian government for providing a way to move forward. Over-loved world heritage sites like Venice deserve our protection.