Venice Shows Support for Cruise

July 20, 2012

(3:30 p.m. BST) -- Just a day after we revealed Venice could be closed to big cruise ships, a group drawn from the porters, mooring, security, hospitality and tourism services in the city have joined together to show their support for cruise ships.

A 600-strong flashmob (pictured here with P&O's Adonia in the background) met at the passenger terminal after the Cruise Venice Committee launched an urgent appeal to show support for an industry which supports 3,000 jobs in and around the city.

Yesterday, Venice came a step closer to banning ships of more than 30,000 tonnes to enter the lagoon, due to environmental concerns.
The environment committee of Italy's parliament is at the review stage of a bill, which could give the city council powers over the surrounding waters.

Massimo Bernardo, Chairman of Cruise Venice Committee, said: “Our intention was not “to give a trial of strength” against those who intend to close the harbour to large cruise ships.
Rather we wanted to send an urgent call to Venice as a whole. It is necessary to understand the importance of supporting more than 3,000 jobs, the income of hundreds of households, but above all the cultural interest which Venice is able to raise: in Venice, a cruise begins precisely with a visit to the city itself.”

Critics argue that cruise ship passengers spend very little in the city and the wash churned up by the ships is hollowing out the seabed of the lagoon and damaging the buildings.

As we wrote in a blog recently, locals, particularly those belonging to campaign groups including Italia Nostra and the No Big Ships committee, have long been up in arms about the close approach made by cruise ships sailing along the city's Giudecca Canal to the cruise terminal.

--by Adam Coulter, U.K. Editor