For years, Venetians have petitioned and protested mass tourism in their city. Authorities have banned new hotels from opening in the historic center, limited the number of kebab and other fast-food outlets to preserve the city’s character, and even toyed with the idea of placing a daily cap on the number of tourists allowed to enter the destination.
The most recent tactic in curbing excessive tourism in the city involves restricting gigantic cruise ships. Earlier this week, the Italian government announced that cruise ships weighing more than 96,000 tons will be banned from entering the city center, The New York Times reports. All ships that fit this criteria will no longer have access Venice’s Giudecca Canal, which cuts through the city and passes by St. Mark’s Square. Instead, the floating behemoths will be required to reroute and dock at Marghera, an industrial port that’s on the mainland. Smaller cruise ships and yachts will still be allowed to use the original route.
Ship traffic has had a significant environmental impact on the lagoon’s ecosystem over the years. Not only do these huge vessels overshadow Venice’s beautiful scenery, but they also erode the canals. According to The Daily Beast, the islands’ coastlines are reducing by three to four meters every year as a result of this erosion. This deteriorating state even led the United Nations to warn Venice that it would be added to UNESCO’s list of endangered World Heritage sites, if it failed to restrict cruise ships from the city’s lagoon by 2017. That said, this added pressure isn’t going to turn into action overnight. The exact details of this new plan have yet to be finalized, and the route will take about four years to open. For now, Venetians will have to continue to face the onslaught of clogged waterways and congested streets.
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