Venice Decides to Re-Route Big Cruise Ships to Blunt Environmental Impact

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In this Sept. 27, 2014 file photo a cruise ship transits in the Giudecca canal in front of St. Mark's Square, in Venice, Italy. The Italian government and Venice officials on Wednesday Nov. 8, 2017 reached an agreement on a plan to block giant cruise ships from steaming past the lagoon city’s iconic St. Mark's Square and instead re-route them to a nearby industrial port. Andrew Medichini / Associated Press

Skift Take: Critics say that even this step to block big cruise ships from sailing past St. Mark's Square in Venice doesn't adequately address the pollution issue since the vessels would still enter the Venice lagoon. This is yet another example of destinations coming to grip with overtourism issues without finding easy answers.

— Dennis Schaal

The Italian government and Venice officials have agreed on a plan to block giant cruise ships from steaming past the lagoon city’s iconic St. Mark’s Square and instead re-route them to a nearby industrial port.

The agreement reached Tuesday, the latest in a years-long debate and still subject to final details, seeks to balance the environmental concerns of Venice’s delicate ecosystem with tourism and maritime jobs.

Transport Minister Graziano Delrio said the plan, to be phased in over three-five years, calls for cruise ships over 55,000 tons to dock at the mainland’s Marghera port and avoid transiting through the Giudecca canal, one of the main waterways through Venice that empties into the St. Mark’s basin.

Environmental groups rejected it since it still allows polluting cruise ships to enter Venice’s lagoon.

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