Driven out of the historic centre of Venice since August 2021, cruise liners are now obliged to dock at the port of Marghera situated a few kilometres away. For this inconvenience, the Italian State has announced to pay a significant compensation to the various stakeholders in this sector.
While the Italian government announced a few months ago that large cruise ships would not be allowed to dock in the historic centre of Venice, it has just announced that it will compensate these same cruise lines and operators in the sector to the tune of 57.5 million euros.
Initially, 30 million euros will be paid to the shipping companies for 2021 "to compensate for the costs incurred for the rescheduling of lines and for refunds to passengers who have given up their trip". The operator of the terminal affected by the docking ban and other affected companies will be allocated €5 million for the current year and a further €22.5 million for 2022.
The industrial port of Marghera is being developed to accommodate large ships, but smaller cruise ships will still be able to dock in the heart of the city. Italy had no choice but to ban the ships, especially with strong pressure from UNESCO, which threatened to remove Venice from the World Heritage List, even though the city has been on the list since 1987.
The reason for this is the large waves generated by these liners, which erode the foundations of the city and threaten the fragile ecosystem of its lagoon. However, there are major economic interests at stake, as cruises generate 400 million euros a year and 5,000 jobs, which is considerable income for Venice. In total, some 90,000 people depend directly or indirectly on the city's port infrastructure.
The large cruise ships were accused of endangering the centre of the City of the Doges, a UNESCO heritage site. Ships of more than 25,000 gross tons are no longer allowed to enter the basin and canal of San Marco or the Giudecca canal. They will therefore receive financial compensation from the Italian Government for the loss of revenue that this decision represents.