Joel Katz

Did you know cruise passengers represent only two percent of world tourism? TWO percent! Here to set the record straight on cruising, especially in Venice is Cruise Lines International Association‘s (CLIA) Joel Katz.

Even in a sensitive destination like Venice where there is an understandable debate on tourism levels, cruise passengers make up only around five percent of total visitors.

So why do people talk about cruise ships “disgorging” their passengers into a destination, when often there are much greater numbers of people arriving by air, road and rail?


Image: Leonardo Yip/Unsplash

It’s a sign of the misperceptions we need to address as an industry, so it’s good to know some of the facts when faced with some of the most common pre-conceived ideas.

Last month’s incident in Venice understandably raised concerns and put cruise back in the spotlight, but some of the work the cruise industry has been doing to address community concerns in the city got overlooked in the process.

Even though they represent only five percent of visitors, cruise lines have been actively engaged with authorities in Italy for some time, looking to find ways of minimising their impact in Venice while at the same time striking a balance between protecting the city’s heritage and maintaining a positive economic contribution.


Image: Dan Novac/Unsplash

Since 2014, cruise lines have enacted a voluntary limit on the size of ships visiting Venice via the Giudecca Canal, meaning vessels larger than 96,000 tons do not call. This has resulted in a drop in the overall number of cruise passengers visiting the city.

For several years now, CLIA and its member cruise lines have also been working with local authorities to develop a new navigation route that will allow ships to avoid the Giudecca Canal and the city’s historic centre. There is still work to be done on this, but we are encouraging authorities to move ahead with their preferred option as soon as possible.

While wider conversations about tourism will continue in Venice and several other destinations, it’s important that we keep cruise in perspective and remember that our industry is not only one small part of the picture, it’s also very active in working with local communities to find solutions.


Have you visited the Italian by ship or by land?