‘Wheels Up’ The War Cry In Venice

Okay, Venice, do you want it like this…or like this? Do you want lots of tourists and all their trappings, which by the way includes some wear and tear on your environment…or do you want more protection and fewer tourists, dollars and — by extension — jobs?

That’s what “no wheeled suitcases” is going to mean.

Starting in May, just in time for the next Mediterranean cruise season, tourists who use baggage with “hard” wheels will be fined more than $600. Baggage with “inflatable” wheels will be okay, so now tourists will need to carry mini-pumps in their suitcases, or spare tires.

This comes on the heels of decision to ban cruise ships bigger than 96,000 gross tonnes from the lagoon in Venice, which ranks high in port popularity among cruisers. Cruise ships St. Mark'sare not the only carriers of Venice’s 20 million or so tourists every year, but their frequency in the city of canals make them a major contributor…and the ban is an attempt to have them use a part of the environment that's less fragile than the lagoon That argument makes a little more sense than the suitcase one. 

Think about the hard-wheeled luggage ban. 

Most tourist couples will have four pieces of luggage. Since there are no cars on the streets of Venice, that means struggling along the cobblestone surfaces, up and over the many bridges, the way we used to before somebody invented wheels for suitcases. Or it means hiring a local to transport your bags every step of the way, a risky way to balance jobs lost by having fewer tourists. 

This is to prevent deterioration of the cobblestones and the bridges, but only the deterioration caused by tourists — the new law won’t apply to locals.

Oh yes, and there’s another reason for the ban on wheeled suitcases. Noise pollution. An Italian newspaper reported that residents and shopkeepers alike were suffering “serious discomfort” from the constant clatter of wheeled luggage.

The way Venice is going, they may have to worry about another “noise.”

The silence could be deafening..

Today at portsandbows.com: Sir Richard Branson's cruise plans

Carnival Ecstasy
4 nights
September 14, 2015
Miami (return): Key WestCozumel 
Inside: $179
Cost per day: $44
www.carnival.com

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