Venice: cruise ships polemics

Brussels 13.06.2021 The first cruise ship to leave Venice since coronavirus restrictions were eased set sail on Saturday, June 12, but some groups of local residents protested over the return to ‘ante-COVID19’, opposing the practice of the passage of giant liners through the historic lagoon city.

After 17 months of interruption due to a pandemic sanitary measures, a first cruise ship set sail on Saturday, June 12, in Venice, arousing the controversy between supporters and opponents of the presence of these sea monsters in the picturesque Italian lagoon.

The two camps each demonstrated on their own to defend their positions: as the huge silhouette of the MSC Orchestra loomed off St. Mark’s Square, demonstrators waving “No to cruise ships” banners shouted their opposition on board small motor boats.

Defenders of the environment and cultural heritage accuse the large waves generated by these ships, several hundred meters long and several storeys high, of eroding the foundations of the buildings of the Serenissima, a Unesco heritage site, and endanger the fragile ecosystem of its lagoon.

Supporters of cruise ships, for their part, highlight the jobs their presence generates for Venice, whose economy depends mainly on tourism, which particularly affected it during the pandemic. They point out that the cruise industry is one of the most significant growth sectors in the tourism market.

Over the past few years, the cruise market has seen an enormous growth in numbers of travellers, while an increasing number of new cruise destinations are emerging. This growth has given rise to a demand for very large cruise ships, however local populations have not profited proportionally from these wealth, facing burdens more than advantages.

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