Against the backdrop of gondolas that have navigated the canals of Venice for centuries comes a new type of waterborne craft that looms high over the city’s famous architecture. Over the last 15 years, cruise ship tourism has boomed in Venice, providing an economic boost to a country that is in dire need of income following a brutal recession.
But conservationists and environmental activists are worried that, despite the benefits from the influx of tourism, cruise ships are destroying Venice’s fragile harbor and ecosystem and could eventually affect the city itself. Though maritime disasters like last year’s Costa Concordia grounding off the coast of Tuscany offer cause for concern, the real impact is the gradual physical and cultural effect that cruise tourism has on popular destinations. The New York Times recently covered a similar story on Charleston, South Carolina, and a current battle over a proposed ship terminal that could bring in millions of dollars in revenue, but could also overwhelm the city.
In the following clip, Anna Somers Cocks, former Chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund, addresses how cruise planning is overlooked by the city’s current management plan.