Tassie’s amazing appeal to cruise lines is delivering the Apple Isle’s best cruise season yet – but just as more lines are considering putting the destination on their itineraries, residents have signalled a Venice-style ban or limit to ship numbers.
Over 12,000 residents of have signed a petition calling on the State Government to ban cruise ships from the state’s national parks and heritage sites – the pristine areas that are a big draw card.
The state is a victim of its own success. A total of 125 cruise are scheduled to dock at Burnie and Hobart this year – at least 29 ships will stop at Port Arthur and six will drop anchor off the Freycinet and Wineglass Bay on the east coast of Tasmania.
The impact on the economy and jobs has been a big boon.
Great wine and food, as well as breathtaking and unspoilt scenery are the big draw cards. But there has been growing concerns about the environmental impact when megaships disembark more than 4,000 passengers on sensitive heritage sites like Port Arthur.
The Freycinet Action Network is petitioning the state government to ban large cruise ships from entering the waters around the national park because ships “left fumes over the bay, disturbed the ocean floor and spoiled the natural scenery of the national park.’’
“How do we sustainably manage that demand to visit these locations,” Luke Martin from the Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania told ABC Radio Hobart.
He suggested that other areas on Tasmania’s east coast should be developed for cruise ships so that passengers can be taken in small groups to tour Wineglass Bay. “We need to look at how we manage this appropriately,” he said.
Dr Sue Beeton, professor of tourism at William Angliss Institute said that larger cruise ships are so visible. “I don’t want to paint the cruise ship industry as completely bad and evil, because it’s not, but we do have these issues that I think need greater consideration,’’ she said.
Initially, the local government authority considered staggering the number of ships calling at Port Arthur historic site.
Overcrowding by cruise ships has also prompted Venice to ban giant holiday vessels from its historic site last year. Cruise ships of more than 100,000 tonnes will now have to take the less glamorous route to the industrial port of Marghera, far from the Grand Canal.