An Italian governmental committee has voted to ban large cruise ships from the water in front of Venice’s St. Mark’s Square.
The vote, which was made after years of protests and petitions from locals, bans all ships weighing more than 55,000 tons from the city’s Giudecca Canal.
This means that all ships from Carnival Cruise Line, all from Royal Caribbean aside from Empress of the Seas, and all from Norwegian Cruise Line will be banned from the canal.
Those ships will now be forced to dock at the industrial port of Marghera, located just northwest of Venice.
The changes will reportedly take about four years to implement.
The Mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, said that the decision found the right balance between combating a city increasingly overcrowded with tourists and keeping the positive impact of cruising alive in the city’s economy.
"We want it to be clear to UNESCO and to the world that we have a solution,” he said.
Over 30 million people go to Venice each year to experience its historic canals and famous city sites, but UNESCO has warned that if steps are not taken to limit damage to the city, Venice could be placed on the organization’s list of endangered heritage sites.