The Flemish city of Bruges has joined the list of European hot spot destinations to impose restrictions on cruise ships.
City authorities are stopping advertising and introducing curbs on cruise ships in a bid to keep “Venice of the North” tolerable for its residents, especially during peak season.
Bruges mayor Dirk De fauw said, “We have to control the influx more if we don’t want it to become a complete Disneyland here.”
Currently, the port in Bruges can accommodate up to five ships, but the city authorities plan to limit the number of ships to two moored at any one time. And they will be encouraging lines to visit on weekdays, rather than weekends.
Mr De fauw also said that Bruges will no longer advertise in other Belgian tourist destinations such as Brussels or in hotels in a bid to curb the footfall.
“There are posters in other Flemish cities saying come to Bruges. That is really not necessary,” Mr De fauw told the Het Nieuwsblad newspaper.
“You can ask yourself if we need posters at Brussels airport. Those people have probably already booked their hotel, perhaps in a different city. Do you still have to lure them to Bruges?”
He also insisted that while Bruges was not full, the city was aiming for ‘quality’ tourists, which he said were not cruise passengers.
“There are certainly calmer periods here and the hotels are not full all year round.
“But we have to aim for quality tourism, people who stay here for a few days, eat well, visit museums. Not the large crowds that are taken here by bus for three hours and then return to their cruise ship.”
Over the last few years, other major European destinations including Venice in Italy, Dubrovnik in Croatia, Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Barcelona in Spain have also imposed restrictions to curb overtourism.