Venice asks Bruges for help solving cruise ship problems

Venice asks Bruges for help solving cruise ship problems
Already only a maximum of two ships are allowed to dock in Bruges. Credit: WIkipedia

Venice is looking to join forces with Bruges ( and other cities) in the hopes of finding a way to reduce the impact of large cruise ships and their passengers on their cities.

About thirty million people will go on a cruise this year, according to figures from the sector, 70% more than ten years ago. More guest also means bigger ships - arriving more frequently - to accommodate the passenger interest, which can cause damages and upset to the places they visit.

From the environmental concerns caused by emissions, to the direct impact the waves generated have on the foundations of Venice, the city wants to see a strengthening of the rules.

"I have written to all the European cities that share our experience of cruise tourism and that need to strike a balance between economic development and environmental sustainability", said Pino Musolino, the head of the Venetian port, reports Het Nieuwsblad.

The appeal went to the ports of Barcelona, Amsterdam, Marseille, Dubrovnik, Bruges (Zeebrugge), Hamburg, Palma and Málaga.

"The growing size of the vessels, their environmental impact on the areas around our ports and the pressure exerted by the increasing number of tourists are creating a conflict situation," added Musolino.

Barcelona, Palma and Marseille have already responded positively to the call, but Bruges is among those yet to reply.

"Next week, we will look internally at what we will do with the request from Venice", said Joachim Coens, a port manager in Zeebrugge.

In order to curb this cruise tourism, Bruges has already agreed with the port authority of Zeebrugge that a maximum of two cruise ships are allowed to dock at the same time.

The Bruges city council has also previously announced that it will no longer advertise the city in hotels in other major Belgian cities after concerns that the current levels of tourism are unsustainable and bad for the city.

Jules Johnston

The Brussels Times

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