War affects cruise tourism in Black Sea

 Monday, November 21, 2022 

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The war between Ukraine in Russia has impacted cruise tourism in the Black Sea, causing tour operators to cancel programs for 39 cruise ships.

If the war had not broken out, some 40,000 European and American tourists could have visited the northern province of Trabzon, said Yusuf Ziya Çakır, from a local tourism agency.

This year only one cruise ship, Astoria Grande, which runs between Russia and Türkiye, has visited Trabzon seven times.

Trabzon is popular with tourists from the Middle Eastern and Gulf countries, who bring some $1 billion in tourism revenue to the region but the lack of European and the U.S. tourists causes losses in tourism revenues.

Plans in the cruise industry are made a few years in advance. In 2020, 39 cruise ships had reported planned visits to the Trabzon port in 2022.

Those ships would have brought 40,000 passengers. But all those plans were cancelled due to the Russian-Ukraine war, Çakır explained, adding that he is concerned about what will happen next year.

If the war continues, it is very likely that there will be no cruise ships, he said.

Some reservations are in the pipeline, he added. But nobody can predict what happens next year…all depends on how the war unfolds.

Astoria Grande has brought some 4,000 tourists from Russia in seven rounds of visits, but it will not cruise to Trabzon anymore.

High-spending Europeans and Americans travel a lot on cruise ships, the fact that they’ll have fewer visitors and fewer revenues affects our region, Çakır said.

Between January and October, 907 cruise ships visited Türkiye’s ports bringing around 920,000 travellers, according to data from the Transport Ministry.

The busiest month was August with 160 visits and 176,000 passengers.

The port in the Kuşadası district of Aydın took the lead in the first 10 months as it welcomed 350 cruise ships and 456,000 visitors, followed by Istanbul at 132 ships and 226,000 passengers.

The port in the province of Sinop, on the Black Sea coast, saw 10 cruise liners dock with nearly 8,000 visitors, while 4,700 tourists on 3 cruise ships arrived in port in the district of Amasra, in the western Black Sea region.

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