More than 300 people gathered on the Zattere waterfront in Venice today to welcome the arrival of the Carnival Legend and to celebrate the beginning of the new cruise season. A flashmob was organised by the Cruise Venice Committee, an association that promotes and supports cruise ship traffic in the lagoon, a segment of the economy that the committee said brings more than 5,500 direct jobs to Venice, resulting in direct spending in excess €180 million per year.
The event was attended by representatives of different groups, including porters, mooring crew, security staff and hospitality and tourism service vendors, who chose this festive approach to emphasize the often underestimated importance of cruising for the local economy.
Massimo Bernardo, chairman of the Cruise Venice Committee, commented: "The flashmob organised by Cruise Venice in conjunction with the start of the cruise season was intended to emphasize the strategic role that shipping, and the cruise industry in particular, plays in the city’s economy. It was the latest in a long series of invitations to the top cruise lines that dock in Venice not to steer their ships to competing ports, when the direct and indirect benefits of this traffic are felt, among others, by hotel and restaurant operators, taxi drivers, merchants, shipping agencies and freight forwarders, technical and nautical service providers, not to mention the airport and all of related services. ‘Welcome Cruising’ is the symbolic calling card of a city that wishes to remain number-one among the world’s top cruise destinations.”
Emilio Gamba, vice chairman of Cruise Venice, said: “After more than 50 years devoted to the sea, ships and the port, I feel I have to speak out in favour of keeping and promoting large cruise ships in Venice, inasmuch as I do not believe them to be responsible for environmental pollution. In Venice today, the cruise industry represents only positive aspects in terms of the economy and protecting jobs, and is the only sector that can mitigate the disastrous effects of the global traffic crisis on the port of Venice.”
Pier Luigi Penzo, also vice chairman of Cruise Venice, expressed his opinion on the environmental compatibility of the cruise traffic and the lagoon habitat: “Large modern cruise ships are acknowledged by international classification authorities as being the most environmentally friendly, and are also awarded prizes for this. Cruise ships have displacement hulls and not chine hulls like almost all lagoon vessels, meaning that at the established top speed of six knots they do not create turbulence, waves, currents and so forth. In addition, the port authorities, who are impartial and can boast a high degree of professional expertise, have over time issued strict specific ordinances such as the double-pilot and double-tug requirement, and so forth.”