Venice dodges demotion on world heritage list after large cruise ships banned

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Venice avoided being named a world heritage site in danger by UNESCO on Thursday, just weeks after Italy moved to ban large cruise ships from sailing into the city centre.

The city has been on UNESCO’s heritage list since 1987, but the UN body warned last month of the need for “more sustainable tourism management”, recommending that Venice be added to its endangered list.

The World Heritage Committee meeting in Fuzhou, China, cited Italy’s recent ban and gave Italian authorities until next December to report back on efforts to preserve the city’s ecosystem and heritage.

Italy’s Culture Minister Dario Franceschini welcomed the decision, but said “attention on Venice must remain high”, underlying the need to identify a “sustainable development path”.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi expressed “great satisfaction” at the decision.

For years, campaigners have been calling for an end to cruise ships sailing past St Mark’s Square.

They say the giant floating hotels cause large waves that undermine the city’s foundations and harm the fragile ecosystem of its lagoon.

Photo: A file photo dated 05 April 2014 shows the cruise ship ‘MSC Preziosa’ navigating in the Canale della Giudecca, in Venice, Italy. EPA/ANDREA MEROLA

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