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MedCruise General Assembly: Cruise companies are still interested in calling to the Black Sea region and Odesa in particular

From 1 to 4, October 2019, Antibes (France) was holding the next General Assembly of the MedCruise, Association of Mediterranean ports and adjacent seas. Being a member of this international cruise infrastructure organization, Odesa port took part in the event. The enterprise was represented by Julia Strikh, the head of the tourism and European integration department of port Authority.


‘Participation in the events held by MedCruise is very important for us,’ J. Strikh stated. “This is an opportunity to negotiate in B2B format with leading cruise business players and the international press representatives specializing in this issue. Our first priority is to cover the activities of the Black Sea regionworking group aimed at restoring cruise tourism on the Black Sea as much as possible, to talk about the tourist attractiveness of Odesa, new routes and excursion programs of our city. According to representatives of the cruise business, interest in the Black Sea region and Odesa, particularly, remains.


The representative of Odesa port held about 15 meetings with journalists of the international press and top managers of cruise companies. In particular, B2B meetings were conducted with representatives of such international publications as International Cruise & Ferry Review, Cruise Times, Seatrade Cruise Review, Cruise Insight, The Cruise Diaries, Cruise News Media Group, Cruise Business Review. It was managed to agree on 7 free publications on the activities of the Black Sea working group, the first results, namely those planned for 2020-2021 calls at the Black Sea ports, as well as the tourist attractiveness of Odesa on the Internet or in print media. Such publications are one of the activity areas of the Black Sea working group, as they allow not only to provide information about the Black Sea ports, but also to popularize the cities of the region.


Besides, meetings with representatives of cruise companies were also held in the B2B format. During these meetings, top managers of such companies as Holland America Line, TUI Cruises, Carnival Corp. expressed their position: they are waiting for the situation after the opening of a new passenger terminal in Istanbul in 2020. The opening of the terminal in Istanbul, which is the gateway and base port for many cruise companies on the Black Sea, will serve as a boost for passenger liners to return to this region, including Odesa.


For instance, Carnival Corporation representatives stated that due to adverse events in Istanbul and the geopolitical situation in Ukraine, the vessels of the companies included in the corporation were not going to return to the Black Sea region until 2021. Seabourn company must be the first to make calls.


MSC Vice President announced the planned expansion of the fleet until 2023, which should be replenished with small vessels capable of unchallenged passing through the Bosphorus Strait.


Ponant, which had submitted two applications for calling at Odesa port in 2020 and two in 2021, is going to continue including Odesa port along with other ports of the Black Sea region in tourist itineraries since about 40 percent of total consumer demand falls on the Black Sea region.


Scenic Luxury Cruises Development Manager said that, finally, the company was able to make a schedule of calls for the coming years. So, in 2022, from 1 to 2 calls to Odesa port are planned.


In general, almost all representatives of the cruise companies noted the positive tendency of the gradual return of ‘white ships’ to the ports of the Black Sea region.


Press Service of Odesa Sea Ports Authority