Venice reopens its lagoon to cruisers in a tense atmosphere


Venice | After a 17-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first cruise ship took off from Venice on Saturday, sparking controversy between supporters and rivals over the presence of these sea monsters in the famous Italian lagoon.

Each of the two camps demonstrated to defend their positions: as the immense silhouette of the MSc Orchestra stood in St Mark’s Square, “No Cruise Ships” banners and avant-garde artists shouted their opposition in small motor boats.

Venice reopens its lagoon to cruisers in a tense atmosphere

“Cruise ships represent lightning tourism, which actually gives Venice little benefit,” a protester told AFP.

Defenders of the environment and cultural heritage have criticized the large waves created by these ships, several hundred meters long and several stories high, of weakening the foundations of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Serenisima. Its pond.

Venice reopens its lagoon to cruisers in a tense atmosphere

The supporters of the ships in solidarity with the “Venice Works” movement highlight the many jobs that create their presence for Venice, whose economy depends mainly on tourism, which has been particularly affected. During the epidemic.

The MSC Orchestra, which evacuated the Greek port of Piraeus on Thursday with around 650 passengers on board, had to undergo a negative test less than four days later and had to undergo a retest to be able to board.

Venice reopens its lagoon to cruisers in a tense atmosphere

As with most tourist cases, the ships have been kindly presented with strict security measures meant to prevent the spread of real travel.

The MSC Orchestra is only allowed half of its 3,000 passenger capacity, subject to anti-Kovid measures. It should stop in Bari (southern Italy), Corfu (Greece), Mykonos (Greece) and Dubrovnik (Croatia).

Open letter

During the two-day stopover in Venice, the ship was supplied by its on-board crew, who also had the opportunity to improve the safety protocols governing daily life on these giants of the seas.

AFP Francisco Gallietti, Director of the International Association of Cruise Lines (CLIA), commented: “We are pleased to offer our support to revive this city which has suffered so much in the past 17 months.” “In one year, the sector lost 800,000 passengers, a loss of 1 billion euros for the economy.”

The debate on the existence of the maritime giants is not limited to Venice and has an international dimension due to the notoriety of this world famous tourist destination.

On Tuesday, international artists from Mick Jagger to Wes Anderson to Francis Ford Coppola and Tilda Swinton sent an open letter to Italian President Sergio Matarella, Prime Minister Mario Draghi and the mayor of Venice. The “permanent shutdown” of cruise ship traffic.

This letter A Decalogue for Venice, Signed by the former French Minister of Culture François Nissen calling for better management of tourist flows, the protection of the lagoon ecosystem and the fight against real estate witches, to preserve “the physical integrity but the identity cultural ”. City of dogs.

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