A ban on cruise ships in the heart of Venice has come into force.
Environmentalists and cultural heritage activists have long sought to limit the number of vessels travelling through the Italian city, calling them an eye-sore and pointing out that they could cause pollution and erosion.
The law -- which will see only small passenger ferries and freight vessels enter the lagoon city’s historic centre from August 1 -- is credited with helping save Venice from being taken off UNESCO's World Heritage List.
The decision is a victory for local campaigners, but other campaigners fear the battle is not yet over as they are up against huge financial interests.
There are concerns that the decision will further affect the city's economy after it was bruised by a drop in tourism due to the pandemic.
Business leaders are also worried the move could cost jobs, as the livelihoods of many people in Venice depend on the cruise industry, even though the government promised compensation for the people affected.
Filippo Olivetti, managing director of the Bassani group, a tourism and port services agency in the city, said Venice wouldn't be able to survive without cruise ships, adding it had made its fortune from port activities.
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