By GENEVIEVE SHAW BROWN, ABC News
(KEY WEST, Fla.) — Key West, a popular cruise ship stop on many itineraries, will now be a port of the past for megaliners.
Residents of Key West voted on November 3, 2020 to ban cruise ships with more than 1,300 passengers. This eliminates mega ships from popular lines like Carnival, Norwegian, Disney, Royal Caribbean and more from docking. Residents also voted to limit the number of daily cruise ship visitors to 1,500 and to give docking priority to cruise ships that have the best health and environmental records.
The initiative was led by the group Key West Committee for Safer, Cleaner Ships. According to its website, the “grassroots” organization answers “to a committee of 2,500 citizen petitioners who care deeply about the future health, economic well-being, and environmental stewardship of Key West. These citizens braved a pandemic to lead our petition drive and give everyone in Key West a voice on cruise ships.”
Key West welcomed nearly 1 million cruise ship visitors in 2019.
According to the Safer, Cleaner Ships, “The destructive environmental impacts of cruise ships on air and water quality are well-established. Overcrowding from cruise ships would threaten the recovery of Key West’s $1 billion tourist industry, 92% of which is generated by multi-day tourists. Cruise ships account for 50% of visitors to the island, but contribute just 8% of tourism revenues.”
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announced earlier this month a “voluntary” ban on sailings until 2021.
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