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Florida’s Key West debating on mass cruise tourism vs more highbrow select variety

Excerpt from New York Times

Dec 25, 2012 11:29 am

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The identity debate, playing out in various communities worldwide on sustainable tourism while retaining the local culture.

— Rafat Ali

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Cruise ships and their day-tripping passengers are at the crux of a divisive debate over Key West’s identity and its path to the future.

Should Key West embrace its artsy, wealthier side and steer toward becoming a funkier version of Nantucket and the Hamptons? Or should it continue to stoke mass tourism, with its reliable stream of dollars but also its proliferating slogan-shouting T-shirt shops and trinket stores?

Residents will vote..next fall on whether to commission a three-year, $3 million feasibility study…to analyze the pros and cons of widening the main channel that leads to Key West’s three ports…Widening the channel is a necessary step in accommodating the industry’s latest and largest cruise ships, which require greater maneuverability to comfortably pull into Key West.

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