Bruges has become the latest European city to limit cruise passenger numbers in a bid to control “over-tourism”. The popular Belgian city plans to limit the number of ships moored at any one time and will be encouraging lines to visit on weekdays, rather than weekends.
Bruges joins Amsterdam, Barcelona, Palma, Venice and Dubrovnik in either imposing taxes specifically on cruise passengers or limiting the number of ships visiting.
Andy Harmer, CLIA UK & Ireland Director, said: “The cruise industry accounts for around three per cent of total tourism to Bruges, and whilst we are small part of the overall mix, we want to be a large part of finding a sustainable solution to ensure the city works for both residents and visitors.
Some 19,500 people live in the city centre of Bruges, which attracts nearly nine million visitors per year. That equates to around 126 visitors per day per 100 residents, according to research conducted by Visit Flanders. Lines which call in at Bruges include P&O Cruises, Cunard, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Cruise & Maritime Voyages and Marella Cruises, amongst others.
Earlier this year Amsterdam imposed a tourist tax specifically for cruise ship passengers which led to a number of cruise lines cancelling Amsterdam as one of their ports of call.
I know that some of my clients were very disappointed at the Amsterdam cancellation, I wonder if this is a sign of things to come. With so many new ships on order over the coming years it looks like tourist numbers will only increase so only time will tell if other cities follow suit.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Bye for now.