Venice, Italy has lifted a ban on cruise ships over 96,000 gross tonnage from sailing through the city’s Giudecca channel and passing St. Mark’s Square. The ban also limits the number of ships of 40,000 tons or more to five per day.
The Veneto Region Administrative Tribunal was urged by numerous tourism groups and the Venice Passenger Terminal (VTP) to overturn the ban, but stated that any restriction on cruise ship travel would only be enacted after sufficient alternate routes for ships had been established.
Members of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) have been voluntarily complying with the ban since the fall so the new decision will not go into effect immediately.
The restriction was put in place to prevent damage to the fragile buildings and environment in Venice and has caused significant controversy. Environmental groups have been protesting against the large ships for a number of years, while ports and cruise industry employees have been arguing that the ships bring in millions of euros to the Venice economy.
Last year, the number of cruise ships sailing through Venice was capped at 708, compared to 809 in 2012.