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European Cities Take Action Against Cruise Ship Overtourism

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European cities are increasingly taking measures to combat the negative impacts of Overtourism caused by Cruise ships. As cruise passenger numbers approach pre-pandemic levels, many ports are reconsidering the presence of these vessels due to environmental, social, and economic concerns.

Key Points:

  • European ports are reevaluating Cruise ship presence due to various concerns.
  • Cruise ships emit significant pollutants and contribute to Overtourism.
  • Cities such as Venice, Palma de Mallorca, and Barcelona are implementing restrictions.

Venice's Battle Against Cruise Ships

Venice, Italy, has been at the forefront of efforts to curb Cruise ship tourism. In 2021, the city banned large cruise ships from its historic center, primarily due to environmental damage and erosion caused by these vessels. UNESCO had threatened to list Venice as endangered unless the ships were banned. Despite the ban, implementation has been challenging without a new hub outside the city's lagoon, and many ships continue to dock nearby.

Palma de Mallorca's Restrictions

Palma de Mallorca, Spain, is also imposing limits on Cruise ships. Starting from 2022, only three ships are allowed in port each day, with a maximum of one ship having a capacity of more than 5,000 passengers. Local politicians are pushing for stricter rules on taxation and fuel use to further mitigate the impact of cruise travel.

Barcelona's Measures to Relocate Cruise Ships

Barcelona, Spain, has taken significant steps to manage Cruise ship traffic. The city closed its North terminal to cruise ships in October 2023, moving around 340 ships annually to the more distant Moll d'Adossat pier. This move is part of an agreement with local authorities to reduce Overtourism by relocating cruise ships outside the city center. By 2026, the South terminal will also close, consolidating all cruise operations at Adossat Wharf.

Widespread Efforts Across Europe

Other European destinations are also grappling with the impact of Cruise ships. In Marseille, France, 50,000 residents signed a petition against cruise ships, leading to increased restrictions. Santorini, Greece, and Dubrovnik, Croatia, have also tightened regulations on cruise companies to protect their local environments and communities.

Global Impact and Reactions

The issue of Cruise ship emissions and Overtourism is not limited to the Mediterranean. In Scotland, the government plans to introduce a new tax on cruise ships to address emissions and tourism pressures. Similarly, Amsterdam, Netherlands, voted to close its cruise terminal, aiming to move it outside the city center to curb pollution and reduce tourist numbers.

Economic Contributions of Cruise Ships

Supporters of Cruise tourism often highlight the economic benefits. However, studies suggest that cruise passengers may not spend as much locally as assumed. Many passengers prefer the convenience of onboard amenities, leading to lower spending in port cities. For example, a study in Bergen, Norway, found that 40% of cruise passengers never left the ship, and those who did spent less than €23 on average.

Final Thoughts

As European cities implement stricter measures against Cruise ship tourism, the industry faces growing pressure to address its environmental and social impacts. While cruise lines are committed to reducing carbon emissions and improving sustainability, the effectiveness of these efforts remains to be seen. Travelers and local communities alike will be watching closely as these changes unfold.

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