During recent decades, cruise tourism has seen enormous growth in both passenger numbers and destinations. The downside of this growth is the negative impact on environment and society. This is even more true, if the destination considered has a fragile ecosystem. Associating the paradigm of sustainable development with the practice of cruise tourism might represent a solution to the problems faced by the industry. However, although cruise industry has apparently embraced sustainable good practices, a number of issues are still critical. This chapter explores the topic considering the case of Venice and its role as home port for cruise tourism in the Mediterranean area. Venice special legislation on tourist cruises and the debate on cruise ships in the Venetian lagoon are examined to highlight critical factors and remedies. Much remains to be done to balance the rapidly growing demand for cruising against its negative environmental impacts on this fragile city. The case of Venice shows how cruise tourism is a complex issue in relation to the sustainability paradigm. Indeed, the controversies stem from the different points of view of the various actors involved in the market—tourists, cruise companies, local administrations, suppliers, local companies and environmental and heritage protection associations just to mention a few—which identify benefits and costs of cruise industry in different ways and timespan.
Part of the book: Mobilities, Tourism and Travel Behavior