Saturday, October 08, 2011
Cruise News Disturbs Some in Charleston, S.C.
Cruise ships the size of Cincinnati may bring in tourism spending, but they don't do much for the charm of any city -- and Charleston, S.C. is a big case in point, says the World Monuments Fund.
The organization puts Charleston, founded in the 17th Century and long a model for the urban preservation movement, on top of its 2012 watch-list sites where historic preservation is endangered by "poorly managed tourism." Here's the link to the organization's report.
The 2012 watch list comprises 67 sites in 41 countries. Of Charleston, the report says: "In the last decade, like many other port towns, Charleston has experienced an increase in the number of cruise ships that arrive in its harbor ... The ships themselves, which have grown in size over the last several years, obstruct views of both the harbor and the town, while the potential for hundreds of thousands of passengers to disembark in the town every year is upsetting the balance between commercial development and the residential areas that make the city livable."
This isn't the first time Charleston has been singled out by preservation interests concerned about the impact of cruise ships. In June, another historic organization, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, put Charleston on "watch status" because of what it called the "threat to the historic city's character by cruise ship tourism."
Sentiment is divided in Charleston, of course, between certain business and political interests and the historic-preservation interests. The local Press and Courier newspaper earlier encouraged city officials to accept an offer from the National Trust to sponsor a tourism-impact study, though the mayor, Joe Riley, has rejected the offer.
After the latest report, Riley told the local paper that Charleston maintains a "balance" between its traditional tourism and the cruise-ship crowds. "This group doesn't know what they're talking about," Riley said of the World Monuments Fund.