Venice has appealed to the main European cruise ship destinations, from Amsterdam to Barcelona, Dubrovnik and Marseille, to unite in tackling the dangers and environmental impact of big cruise liners.
The appeal to the ports of Barcelona, Amsterdam, Marseille, Dubrovnik, Zeebrugge, Hamburg, Palma and Málaga comes as Venice leaders clash with government officials over finding a solution to a problem that has long rankled Venetians.
The issue returned to the spotlight after four people were injured when the 13-deck MSC Opera crashed into a wharf and tourist boat along the busy Giudecca canal in early June. Weeks later the 12-deck Costa Deliziosa narrowly missed colliding into a yacht during a storm. The incidents have revived protests against big ships and calls from residents to ban them from the Venice lagoon altogether.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site is also slowly sinking, with cruise ships blamed for eroding the floating city’s foundations.
Critics say the waves the ships create are eroding the foundations of the lagoon city, which regularly floods, leaving sites such as Saint Mark’s Square underwater.
The “Serenissima”, as the city is known, is not alone in suffering from mass cruise tourism.
In 2017, hugely popular Dubrovnik — another UNESCO World Heritage site — became synonymous with the cruise “overtourism” scourge, showing up on lists of destinations to avoid.
Marseille has wrestled with increased smog in recent years as it seeks to attract more lucrative cruise tourism.
And Bruges has said it plans to limit the number of cruise ships docking at the nearby port of Zeebrugge in a bid to curb the masses of day-trippers that descend on the so-called “Venice of the North”.
The northern Adriatic Sea port authority in Venice said it had already received a positive response to its appeal from Barcelona, Palma and Marseille, and expected others to follow.