Published on : Thursday, November 9, 2017
The tension between the locals and the tourists has been a prime talk amongst the travel industry. The situation reached a further point of discord with the giant cruise ships sailing past St Mark’s Square.
By the year 2021, an Italian government committee chaired by transport minister Graziano Delrio has decided, cruise ships over 55,000 tonnes will no longer be able to pass through St Mark’s Basin and dock in the city. They will, instead, sail through the Venice lagoon at a distance from the city, cut through at Malamocco (on the far end of the Lido, where the controversial Mose flood barrier is located), and dock on the mainland at Marghera, the industrial centre of the Veneto region.
“Comitatone” – essentially “committee to end all committees” has been ruling the situation and decided to end all the disputes about the cruise industry’s role in the destruction of Venice.
According to the locals, the giant cruise ships which sail right past Piazza San Marco and the entrance to the Grand Canal, before entering the Giudecca Canal and running alongside the famous Zattere waterfront, is damaging the historical infrastructure and is also adding to the water pollution.
On the other hand, there are arguments which support the cruise industry as it provides essential income to a city whose economy, these days, is almost entirely based on tourism.
Marghera, with its factories belching fumes into the air that can be seen for miles around, is not likely to go down well with tourists seeking an Instagrammable entry into the lagoon city. It is expected to take between three and four years to complete the building work.
Venice mayor Luigi Brugnaro called it a “great result” for residents, and added he was happy that the compromise took account of the cruise income that the city receives, that “we absolutely couldn’t afford to lose.”
However, according to the rules, ships less than 55,000 tonnes will be allowed to continue along the present route.