Venice and Cruise Ships: A Delicate Balance

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But anti-cruising activists argue that it’s unfair to make the current law conditional on finding a new port: “It’s like worrying about a monster knocking on your door and finding a new home instead of chasing it. activist Ms. da Mosto,” he said.

There are two main proposals: to divert ships to Marghera, the lagoon’s main commercial port on the mainland, or to build a port outside the lagoon.

A representative from the Venice Port Authority said Marghera’s problem was that it was “a commercial port for containers, not built for passengers.” Also, because Marghera is in the lagoon, critics say rerouting cruise ships will do little to limit environmental damage.

As for building another port entirely: on April 1, the Italian government approved the allocation of funds for a feasibility study for such a project. However, the Port Authority said only that the process of developing plans for the project is expected to last until mid-2022, leaving little hope that a new port will provide a solution in the short or even medium term.

Stopping cruise traffic until a new port is ready will take an economic toll. Before the pandemic, the cruise industry directly and indirectly employed 4,200 people in the region, according to the Port Authority, generating revenues of 280 million euros (over $332 million), although most of that money did not go to Venice’s historic centre. .

Meanwhile, UNESCO is impatient. Last month, the agency released a report urging the Italian government to prioritize the “option to completely ban large ships from the Lagoon” and to set a time frame for “temporarily rerouting ships” to Marghera or elsewhere.

The agency also announced on the same day that it is considering adding Venice to its list of endangered World Heritage sites. A representative of the agency said in an email statement that “recommendations for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List in Danger are not sanctions, but warnings to find solutions,” and referred to “mass tourism, especially in the presence of cruise ships.” of the organization’s concerns.

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