Thursday 19 May 2016

The Ugliest Sight in Italy

In 2008 we were wandering around the back 'calle' of Venice when a horrific sight came into view. For a minute moment there was an excitement and then the reality of what I was seeing struck me. A cruise ship in the canals of Venice!!

A few minutes later ... another cruise ship sailed by.

This has all been brought back to me after reading an article entitled 'Saving Venice' by Isobel Lee, printed in an Australian publication called Italianicious.

Most people would be aware that Venice is at great risk from rising water and the washing away of its sub-structure, the degradation of the lagoon and the death of the community. Cruise ships are adding to these troubles without contributing anything positive to Venice. Cruise groups descend en masse in their thousands and rarely add much to the economy - they sleep and eat on the ships and take tours arranged by the ships.

Having experienced these swarms of cruise ship tourists in precious places like Bethlehem and Ephesus in Turkey, I can think nothing positive about them from a tourism point of view.

From the environmental point of view, there is a strong move to have Venice recognized by UNESCO as an At Risk World Heritage Site. Let us hope that when UNESCO meets in July that they will recognize the damage being caused by huge cruise ships and that a stop to this type of mass tourism will be put in place.