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Bruges Becomes Latest European City to Limit Cruise Ship Calls

October 10, 2019

Adam Coulter
U.K. Executive Editor

(8:30 a.m. ET) -- Bruges has become the latest European city to limit cruise passenger numbers in a bid to control "over-tourism".

The popular Belgian city plans to limit the number of ships moored at any one time and will be encouraging lines to visit on weekdays, rather than weekends.

Bruges joins Amsterdam, Barcelona, Palma, Venice and Dubrovnik in either imposing taxes specifically on cruise passengers or limiting the number of ships visiting.

Andy Harmer, CLIA UK & Ireland Director, said: "The cruise industry accounts for around three per cent of total tourism to Bruges, and whilst we are small part of the overall mix, we want to be a large part of finding a sustainable solution to ensure the city works for both residents and visitors.

"There is not a one-size-fits-all solution to destination sustainability. That's why CLIA is actively partnering with local stakeholders including destination mayors, local government, travel and tourism businesses, local NGOs and others to address immediate concerns, as well as collaborate on long-term planning.

"CLIA cruise lines have well-planned itineraries (usually more than a year in advance) that deliver passengers at known and regular times to destinations. Their shore excursion programs are designed carefully to minimise disruption to the local community while generating positive economic impact.

"The cruise industry recognises that Bruges is a unique destination, and the cruise industry is committed to protecting its cultural heritage and safeguarding its sustainability."

Some 19,500 people live in the city centre of Bruges, which attracts nearly nine million visitors per year. That equates to around 126 visitors per day per 100 residents, according to research conducted by Visit Flanders.

Lines which call in at Bruges include P&O Cruises, Cunard, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Cruise & Maritime Voyages and Marella Cruises, amongst others.

Earlier this year Amsterdam imposed a tourist tax specifically for cruise ship passengers leading to a slew of lines cancelling calls there.

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