Conservation News USA

Venice added to heritage 'watch list' due to cruise tourism threat

World Monuments Fund’s list includes cultural sites in Syria and Mali at risk from military attacks

Cruise tourism has become one of the most significant threats to Venice in recent years as visitors flock to the city while locals move out

International efforts to preserve Venice for future generations received a much-needed boost today when the city was added to the World Monuments Fund’s 2014 “Watch List” of heritage sites at risk. Cruise tourism has become one of the most significant threats to Venice in recent years as visitors flock to the city while locals move out of the area. Visitor figures have increased by a staggering 400% within the past five years, and during the peak season, an average of 20,000 tourists descend on the city’s historic streets and squares. Locals have had enough: around 50% have moved out within the past decade.

“This will surely get a reaction out of the Italian government. I hope that it will not be rejected as outside interference, but accepted as a sign of loving concern,” says Anna Somers Cocks, the chief executive of The Art Newspaper and the former chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund.

Venice is one of 67 heritage sites in 41 countries added to the fund’s new “Watch List”. It is joined by three other Italian sites, including the historic centre of L’Aquila which was devastated by an earthquake in 2009 and remains inhabitable. Also on the list are the cultural heritage sites of Syria and Mali—the former caught in the crossfire of fighting between rebels and government forces and the latter subjected to systematic attacks by hardline Islamists—and the Grade II-listed Battersea Power Station in London, which was first placed on the fund’s list in 2004. Located on prime real estate along the River Thames, the disused station is due to be redeveloped next year into a £8bn commercial and residential complex.

“The 2014 Watch presents a selection of monuments from around the world in need of both new economic resources and innovative ideas about how to preserve them for future generations. These sites—and countless others like them—recount our human history and highlight our achievements. It takes vigilance to keep them active in the world; yet it is often the case that the very places that provide rich character and texture to our lives need more assistance and attention than they are given,” says the fund’s president, Bonnie Burnham.

More from The Art Newspaper


7 Nov 13
15:48 CET


I remind you that there is my petition to sign to protect even more Venice. Signature and you sign your contacts, we need everyone's help, thank you! Vi ricordo che c'è la mia petizione da firmare per salvaguardare ancora di più Venezia. Firma e fai firmare i tuoi contatti, c'è bisogno dell'aiuto di tutti, grazie!

1 Nov 13
15:5 CET


My wife and I visited Venice 4 weeks ago. We witnessed one of these nautical juggernauts leaving port. They are absolute monstrosities and should be banned from docking in that city. The water levels were already high and wash from such a large boat must threaten flooding!! I agree the large number of passengers take over the museums particularly in the mornings and then they retreat back to their ship for all inclusive lunch, giving very little to the shops/ cafe/restaurants/ etc. of the place they are visiting. Happily we were able to avoid most of the scrums as we were there for the Biennale which does not appear on the cruise line attractions of Venice. Thank God!!

18 Oct 13
11:44 CET


Ho lanciato questa petizione per salvaguardare Venezia.Firmate e condividete, grazie! C'è bisogno anche di voi! I launched this petition to preserve and share Venezia.Firmate, thank you! There also needs you!

16 Oct 13
1:18 CET


I often visit my family and friends in Venezia, where I'm from. These tippy cruise hotels destroy the environment and aesthetics which ever waters they ply. It is more than a disgrace. It is a criminal misuse of power: greed. Venezia does not wish to become another Isola di Giglio. Those cruise ships, built by Carnival in Mestre, prove that Rome does not give a snap about Venezia or her people.

14 Oct 13
15:43 CET


In am sympathetic to Venice's problems with cruise tourists swamping this iconic city. In our smallish city the Harbour Company are promoting the benefits of cruise tourism and are proposing to move our traditional old small docks out into Galway Bay, to encourage cruise liners to visit. Reality is that this is more about increasing property prices on their lands than having tourists see our city. If they were to come in such numbers, they may be disappointed.

11 Oct 13
15:46 CET


I am so glad - not only are these ships an eyesore, I fear they bring little or nothing to the city and only imagine if one didn't stop in time ..... ahhhhh !! If people want to visit Venice, do it on foot, at night, during the day, in the fog & experience it, its worth it

9 Oct 13
4:42 CET


The same in Dubrovnik- Croatia, cruise ships are ruining our town built for 5000 people, now only about 700 live here, visited by 10000 daily, it is hell!! Shame on all the greedy politicians

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