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On Sunday, May 5, a first cruise with foreign tourists started in navigation-2019 from Moscow. In a week, the Volga Dream motor ship will deliver them to Volgograd. Carriers record a significant increase in the volume of booking cruise liners for travelers from other countries: they have already bought out almost all the tours offered for this season along the rivers of Central Russia and close deals for 2020. Last year, the share of foreigners in the river flow increased by 6%: more than 86 thousand foreign visitors passed through the waterways of the Moscow basin.
Domestic cruise operators working with foreign tourists have fully formed their business plan for 2019. According to the carriers, foreign contracts are 100% concluded, the press service of the Moscow Canal Federal State Budgetary Institution reports.
Six cruise companies operate on the inland waterways of the Moscow Basin with foreign travelers: Vodohod LLC, Mosturflot OJSC, IC Sozvezdie LLC (its operator is Infoflot Cruise Center), and Doninturflot OJSC ( Orthodox “) and Passenger Fleet LLC (Viking River Cruises, Russia).
Thus, in navigation-2019, 30 thousand foreign passengers were confirmed from Vodohod, and 1.5 thousand similar tours were purchased from the Constellation. Now foreigners are actively booking “Russian cruises” for 2020: the corresponding sales began in November 2018, they say in Vodohod.
Target capacity of this market is estimated by experts at 100 thousand people for navigation. Foreigners make up almost a third of passengers on river liners. So, last year, 290 thousand people went on cruises along the rivers of Central Russia, of which over 86 thousand were foreign guests. The foreign tourist flow increased by 6% to the 2018 navigation, German Elyushushkin, head of the Moscow Canal, said.
Despite the fact that cruise participants are travelers from all over the world, the main contingent is Europeans. Basically, they are representatives of France, Germany, Italy and Spain – they make up 95% of the passengers of river liners.
In the navigation-2018 on board one of the ships of the company “Vodohod” for the first time took a group from Malta, visited on board and representatives of Brazil. At Mosturflot, navigation-2018 was completed by a vessel with tourists from Canada. In addition, for the first time on a cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg in 2018, guests from Vietnam left.
Americans, Australians, New Zealanders and Chinese are traditionally among those traveling along the rivers of Russia. Thus, representatives of the PRC (individual and group tourists) show a steady growth of 20-25% per year.
The popularity of river transport is associated with its environmental friendliness and comfort. For many participants in cruises along our rivers, it has become a tradition to rest in a floating hotel, getting acquainted with the sights along the route of the ship. Often they repeat the route already covered or discover new directions in Russia.
The popularity rating among foreigners for many years in a row is headed by the route Moscow – Saint Petersburg – Moscow for 12/11 days, flights from the Russian capital to Astrakhan and traveling along the Volga are also in demand.
“The growth of foreign tourist traffic, of course, inspires, gives impetus to the development of the market of cruises and river tourism. But this dynamic remains within the limits of statistical error. After all, even 100 thousand passengers are only 0.5% of the total volume of tourists (an average of 18 million people) who come to Moscow and can go on a cruise from the Port of the Five Seas. There is serious growth potential here. It is also due to the capacity of the hydraulic structures of the Moscow Canal – functioning, modernized and reconstructed with the support of the Federal Agency for Maritime and River Transport. Traveling along the waterways of the Moscow Basin should be no less than 1 million people in navigation, ”sums up German Elyanyushkin.
Source: Maritime News of Russia