Published: Fri, November 10, 2017
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

Giant cruise ships banned from Venice canal

Passenger liners are now allowed to pass within a few hundred yards of St Mark's Square and Venice's historic centre on their way to the lagoon city's global passenger terminal.

The government and regional authorities have come up with a new plan that would ban the largest cruise ships from passing in front of St Mark's Square amid demands for action from UNESCO.

Big ships pose a threat to the city's precarious ecosystem, and have continually upset locals, who feel their presence spoils Venice's scenery. (Read my thoughts in Are Cruise Ships Ruining Venice Or Just Memories From My Youth?) My oldest son commented that he thought the city seemed "infected with too many tourists".

He said they wanted to be "clear to UNESCO and the world that there is a solution", saying proposals have been shared with the region and central government.

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".

While some large ships will still be allowed in Giudecca Canal, Venice's mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, sees the decision as a compromise, benefitting the environment, the people of Venice, and the economy-namely "the jobs created by the cruise industry, which we can not afford to lose", reports The Local.

The building works which must take place are expected to take between three and four years.

Others, however, have argued that the cruise industry provides essential income to a city whose economy, these days, is nearly entirely based on tourism.

The levels of pollution from ships, even if they are moved slightly further away from the Grand Canal, still pose a huge risk to the city's future, which is vulnerable to rising sea levels.

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