Cruise tourism in Primorye: to be or not to be

Cruise tourism in Primorye: to be or not to be

It is not the first year that Vladivostok has been positioned as a center of international cooperation and a city within "walking distance" from which hundreds of millions of potential foreign tourists live. The idea of ​​turning the capital of Primorye into a "cruise capital of Russia" is being promoted no less zealously. RIA PrimaMedia asked experts to assess the cruise potential of Vladivostok, as well as speculate about the prospects for the development of this economically viable business area and the problems that hinder the realization of this very potential.

Cruise tourism. Photo: RIA PrimaMedia

Cruise Tourism Pitfalls

According to experts, such projects as the "Eastern Ring of Russia" and the rule on a simplified visa regime for the Free Port of Vladivostok should contribute to an increase in tourist traffic, but after 2011 (when on the eve of the APEC summit, 10 cruise liners visited the seaside capital) , the number of calls of foreign ships to Vladivostok has been steadily decreasing. At the same time, the indices of sea tourism among the Sakhalin neighbors are increasing significantly. Why is this happening?

Lack of modern berths and piers for the approach of tourist sea transport, the terrible state of the existing berth infrastructure and the high cost of its operation - these are the main "pitfalls" hindering the development of the cruise tourism industry in Vladivostok and the Primorsky Territory, experts say.

Deputy Director of the Department of International Cooperation of Primorsky Krai Alexey Kolmogorov noted that tourism, including cruise, is certainly developing in Primorye and it is necessary to declare itself at the international level, but there are enough problems in this industry.

- Despite the numerous bonuses - TOPs, the open port, the past APEC summit, the investment attractiveness of the region, the creation of clusters, etc., the number of cruise ships calling in Vladivostok is not as large as we would like. This is due to many factors. At the same time, the calls of cruise ships among the neighbors - Sakhalin residents increased significantly, - said the expert.

Experts agree on one thing - the geographical location of Vladivostok makes it possible to include this port in the cruise schedule, since there are passenger berths for receiving cruise ships in the city. Berthing line No. 1 - 2 of the seaport of Vladivostok exceeds 400 meters, which is sufficient to receive large ships operating in the Asian region. However, the existing port infrastructure limits the acceptance of passenger ships from 300 meters and a draft of 8.8 meters.

According to the international requirements of navigational safety and the rules of shipowners for entering the port, the depth in the water area and at the berth must exceed the vessel's draft by 1 meter. In accordance with the latest measurements, the depths of passenger berths do not meet this requirement, and it is for this reason that large cruise ships cannot enter Vladivostok. And the parking in the roadstead with the transportation of passengers to the shore by boats and boats of the liner is a thing of the past. This is possible for islands and small towns, but not for Vladivostok.

Cruise tourism. Photo: RIA PrimaMedia

- Today Vladivostok is a subject of interest for cruise ship owners. Our city is ready to visit such sea cruise giants as Voyager of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas of Royal Caribbean International. They rush to us and ask to create conditions for admission. But they have a draft of more than 8.8 meters, which immediately puts an end to the approach. For 2016, applications were also submitted for the Quantum of the Seas, Celibrity Millenium. But here we are returning to our starting positions - there are not enough depths, - said the deputy general director of Erma LLC Roman Schepov and explained that despite the difficulties, a record number of cruise liners will enter Vladivostok in 2017. The maximum draft of the largest is 8.4 meters.

- In the same 2017, there will be the promised bottom deepening, which will allow giant ships to enter. At the moment, it is officially known that 11 liners from Japan, Italy, Malta and Panama will visit the port of Vladivostok. Among them are vessels such as Asukall, Costa Victoria, Сolebrity Millennium and others. All ships go to us in transit, but now it is planned to organize calls to us by cruise ships with Chinese tourists in a directed manner, this item is still under consideration. - noted Roman Schepov.

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