Cities that have banned cruise ships and enforced rules to tackle mass tourism


Italy has benefited from tourism as its main source of income for decades. However, lately the overtourism caused by huge cruise ships docking in Venice has caused more damage than benefits.

Italian Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli announced in June 2019 that all large cruise ships will be banned from docking in the historic center of Venice from September 2019 in Venice after a port collision earlier this year. In June, the MSC Opera crashed into the quay and a tourist boat along the Giudecca Canal – an artery leading to St. Mark’s Square and injured four people.

Toninelli said large ships will be redirected to other ports such as Fusina and Lombardia. Damage from large ships even led UNESCO to classify Venice as endangered on its World Heritage Site, as increased maritime traffic eroded the foundations of Renaissance buildings.

This isn’t the first time the city has announced a war on cruise ships. In 2013, the previous Italian administration banned ships weighing over 96,000 tonnes from the Giudecca Canal. The ban was in part a response to the Costa Concordia disaster in 2012, in which a 115,000-ton cruise ship crashed on Giglio Island after sailing too close to shore.

But the Iban was later overturned by a regional court. In 2017, the government announced that larger ships would be hijacked and enter the lagoon via the Malamocco Canal to reach the mainland of Marghera, but that this new route would take four years to be ready.

The Venice Port Authority has called on other cruise destinations such as the ports of Barcelona, ​​Amsterdam, Marseille, Dubrovnik, Zeebrugge, Hamburg, Palma and Malaga to close ranks to tackle the dangers posed by the massive ships.

Venice, however, is not alone in trying to tackle overtourism.

Bruges: not another Disneyland

The Flemish city is attracting more and more international globetrotters. However, in order to crack down on the growing number of day trippers, the Belgian government has imposed regulations aimed at reducing the number of cruise ships docking at the port of Zeebrugge from five per day to just two. The reason is that many stores have been replaced by those that cater to tourists selling only chocolate and beer.

In 2018, a record 8.3 million tourists visited Bruges, an increase of 900,000 from 2017. Six million of these were cruise passengers.

The mayor of Bruges, Dirk De fauw, told the newspaper Het Nieuwsblad: “We need to control the influx more if we do not want it to become a full Disneyland here. Measures are also being implemented to stop advertising for Bruges as a day trip destination.

Dubrovnik: MOU signed with CLIA for sustainable tourism

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, Dubrovnik has become synonymous with cruise tourism. The Croatian city – which gained popularity after its appearance on the Game of Thrones TV show – and the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) have now signed a memorandum of understanding for responsible tourism management.

In 2018, the mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Frankovic, implemented a strategy to limit the number of cruise ships to two per day carrying a total of 5,000 tourists in an effort to reduce overcrowding.

“The key to the success of every destination is management. We have organized a better schedule of arrivals and departures for cruise ships, greatly improving the flow of guests in Dubrovnik’s Old Town, ”Frankovic told the Dubrovnik Times last year.

Amsterdam: cruise passengers pay additional tax

The Dutch capital imposed a tourist tax on cruise passengers from January 2019. For each day spent in Amsterdam, cruise passengers must now pay € 8. This has led two cruise lines, Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) and MSC Cruises to remove the city from their itinerary in protest of the additional charges. Both are now docking in the port of Rotterdam. This decision was criticized by the CLIA which declared itself “disappointed”.

In a statement, CLIA said: “Transit cruise passengers represent only 1% of total tourist traffic in Amsterdam and last year the city of Amsterdam received more than € 60 million in net revenue from the port. from Amsterdam following the cruise stopovers to the city. . In comparison, the remaining 99% of tourist traffic should contribute via all tourist taxes, just under 80 million euros in 2019. ”

The move was aimed at tackling the increase in the number of day trippers and encouraging travelers to invest more time in the Dutch city as well as dealing with high visitor demands on the city’s public spaces.

Dublin: reduction of cruise ships due to Brexit

The number of cruise ships docking in Dublin is increasing every year. In a bid to regulate this and due to looming Brexit requirements, the Dublin Port Authority (DPA) has announced plans to cut that figure by almost half from 2021.

In a statement, the DPA said berth assignments from 2021 will be managed in accordance with its new policies that the number of cruise ships will be limited to 80. Currently, 160 ships are scheduled to stop in 2019 and 140 reservations have been made for 2020. The port defended its decision by emphasizing the importance of prioritizing freighters and container ships in light of Britain’s exit from the EU.

After the rule was announced, an All-Ireland Cruise Ship Action Group campaign was launched by a cohort of businesses in the region to challenge the ban which said the move would have a “catastrophic impact” on the city. port as well as other parts of Ireland.

Santorini: saturation reached

The Greek island of Santorini has long been a hit with cruise tourists, but its popularity has made it a victim of its own success forcing authorities to place a capacity cap on the number of visitors.

The Cyclades island said it would only be able to accommodate 8,000 cruise passengers per day, reducing the figure to several thousand from previous years.

In total, the island receives some two million tourists each year, with around 850,000 travelers arriving on cruise ships. “We have reached the saturation point. The pressure is too much, ”the mayor of the Greek island, Nikos Zorzos, told the Guardian. He added that this influx of cruise passengers was causing social and environmental problems, including traffic problems and overcrowding.

Barcelona: cruise lines are like “an invasion of locusts”

Spain has had a few challenges in the past, but attracting tourists was not. In fact, tourism has been cited as one of the city’s biggest problems. Barcelona mayor Ada Colau has pledged to restrict the number of cruise ships allowed to dock in the city. She said, “We don’t have infinite capacity.

Gala Pin, adviser in the last Colau administration, compared cruise passengers to “an invasion of locusts” which devour public space and leave. Barcelona alone has seen a total of 4.4 million tourists including three million cruise passengers.

Apart from Barcelona, ​​other Spanish ports are also threatened. A recent study by the European Transport and Environment Federation stated that Palma de Mallorca has the second most pollution caused by cruise ships in Europe after Barcelona, ​​forcing local residents to leave the neighborhood. Activists and residents of the Spanish island of Mallorca have even launched a campaign demanding that fewer cruise ships be allowed to dock and have already received more than 11,000 signatures.


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