Cruise Ships: Influencing the City of Venice
Italian tourism is divided amongst attractions that are known the world around. Rome, Florence, Milan and Sicily all see their fair share of tourists, but none of these cities are as unique as Venice. Historical Venice occupies 6.3 square kilometers, 1279 square kilometers less than Rome (1,285 square kilometers), yet both cities welcome 20 million visitors every year. This works out to 3,174,603 visitors per square kilometer per year in Venice, versus 15,637 in Rome. These tourists bring an estimated 1 billion euro into the city annually. Not surprisingly, cruise ships hold a vital role in bringing visitors to this archipelago. In 2007, Venice saw over 500 cruise ships dock in its harbor. These cruise ships brought over 1,000,000 tourists to the city that same year. For a city with a population of about 62,000, this is an astronomical amount of people to accommodate. On paper, it appears that the cruise ship industry is doing Venice an incalculable favor, providing a steady stream of tourists with deep pockets and little inhibition to spend. But doesn’t it sound too good to be true? Might there be a side to the cruise shipping industry that is not helping, but hurting the city of Venice?