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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - From Mobile, Ala., to Venice, Italy, the same debate on the cruise industry is heard: How can historic cities balance the economic benefits of the industry with impacts such as congestion and pollution?

This week, Charleston hosts an international conference on the topic. Cruise ships have sparked headlines and lawsuits in recent years in the city.

Eric Avrami of the World Monument Fund says the goal is to have a conversation about cruises calling at historic cities and to develop a list of best practices that can be shared worldwide.

She says cruise tourism has been around for a long time, and the visitors and money that cruises bring are important to historic preservation.

Industry critics worry about accidents, pollution and the additional visitors cruising brings to historic cities.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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