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The Far East is in no hurry to become a cruise ship

Million tourist traffic of the Sea of ​​Japan stumbles on the infrastructure

Before the largest coastal subjects of the Far East - Primorye, Kamchatka, Sakhalin, - the task is to develop cruise marine tourism. The vast cruising potential of the region has been discussed for a long time: at the first international Pacific Tourism Forum (TTF) in 2014, experts also noted the poor condition of the berthing infrastructure, and the inability of the ports to receive and serve the largest cruise ships and the prolonged procedure with passport control. How attractive are the Far Eastern cities for cruise tourists, was exploring EastRussia.

The Far East is in no hurry to become a cruise ship
Photo:, Love Khmelevskaya

On TTF-2018, held in Vladivostok from 17 on 20 May, it became clear that the problems with attracting cruise ship tourists to the Far East remain the same as four years ago, although something has moved from the "dead center". For example, in 2016, the authorities promised to complete the procedures for deepening the bottom at the berths No. 2017 and No. 1 in Vladivostok to 2. This year, the work was announced to be completed by the year 2019. It should be noted that this time the matter is likely to be done: some operators of the newest Quantum airliners with a capacity of more than 5 thousand passengers, they say in the regional administration, have already planned calls to Vladivostok since September of 2019. The dredging project in the port of the city, Rosmorport reported, is already undergoing a state environmental review. 

Of all the cities of the Far East, Vladivostok is the leader of cruise tourists: in 2017 15 thousand airliners 13 thousand foreigners came to the city (640 thousand tourists from other countries visited the city for the whole year), and after the completion of the dredging procedure the city will be able to take about 950 thousand guests. At 2018, 25 is scheduled to enter Vladivostok. You can rejoice, but not too much: the ports of the Sea of ​​Japan in the APR countries have long been hosting millions of cruise passengers.

"In May of this year we took the largest airliner ever visited Vladivostok," said Igor Glukhov, General Director of Intermarin Cruise Ferri Management. - This is a Costa Serena with a capacity of 3700 passengers. In June, we will take another liner about 4 thousand people. I can say that we have almost set a record: the reception of a large liner for labor costs is comparable with the holding of a forum. However, in Vladivostok, the speed of passing passport control leaves much to be desired. The fact is that tourists from cruise ships in the city for the time being do not remain. Coming in the morning, the liners are delayed in the port for 8-10 hours, of which more than three leave at times for passing control. What qualitative rest and waste of money here you can talk about? The city needs an increase in the number of passport control points at the station, as well as more special parking spaces for tourist buses - up to 50, - and more qualified guides and interpreters.

Worse things are on Sakhalin: here the infrastructure of the port of Korsakov, to which the regime of the free port of Vladivostok (SPV) is widespread, still allows servicing the liners only in the roadstead. The modern border crossing point, in simple terms, the "sea port", which should provide operational state control of at least 2,5-3 thousand passengers per day, is going to be built here for several years: at 2016, the authorities announced their intention, in 2017, , and in 2018 on the TTF about the exact timing of the beginning of construction was never told. 

Nevertheless, along with the construction of the sea terminal on Sakhalin are going to conduct and dredging. The total cost of the project is about 1,9 billion rubles. Funds on terms of return can be singled out by the Sakhalin Oblast Development Corporation. Recall that OJSC Korsakov Sea Commercial Port concluded an agreement with the contractor LLC Roksan Global on the design and construction of the sea port in 2016. With a good scenario, as reported by the port's management, the contractor promised to complete the construction by the end of the 2017, but it's still there.

In 2017, more than 18 thousand tourists visited Korsakov from nine cruise liners Princess Cruises and Costa Cruises. In 2018, the city will be able to visit about the same number of cruise guests. At the same time, the number of calls to Sakhalin does not increase, but on the contrary, it falls: in 2014, 19 airliners with the number of passengers about 23 thousand people visited Korsakov. 

According to the leading adviser of the tourism department of the Ministry of Sport, Tourism and Youth Policy of the Sakhalin Region Ivan Shevchenko, the decrease is not due to the fact that tourists are not interested in Sakhalin. The fact is that the companies Princess Cruises and Costa Cruises decided to transfer their liners to other cruise routes.

"70% of our guests are residents of Japan," says Ivan Shevchenko. - It is clear that these foreigners are not indifferent to Sakhalin, to its history. Therefore, we organize excursions for them on cultural monuments that have preserved the national culture of Japan, on local history museums, places of travel Anton Chekhov. And, of course, the mountain air. We are going to adapt this resort and under the summer time: there is a cable car along which you can drive and see Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk from above. The rest of our guests are residents of the Republic of Korea and China. Turpotok from these countries is not so high.

In the port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to 2018 for the more operative reception of cruise guests, the sea terminal was reconstructed, as well as the port infrastructure was modernized, including berths, which allowed increasing the number of passenger liners: in 2018 they are already scheduled for 15. However, even here large class vessels can be serviced only in the roads, and the need for a dredging procedure, although it is said, but only in the "medium term for the coming years." Nevertheless, Rosmorport has already announced a tender for a dredging project in the port of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky with an initial order price slightly more than 15,7 million rubles.

"We have achieved a lot during the years of development of cruise tourism, but much remains to be done," says Elena Stratonova, head of the agency for tourism and external relations of the Kamchatka Territory. - Of course, about the earliest possible reception of airliners, five-thousandths of a speech is not coming yet. However, it should be noted that the Kamchatka Territory does not set itself the goals of the development of mass tourism. For us it is more important not the number of tourists, but the quality of their rest, although the first, of course, also means a lot to us.


The most desirable, but not yet revealed potential of the Far East in terms of cruise tourism is the sea route within the single state brand "The Eastern Ring of Russia". This project involves the creation of sea tourist routes along the ports of several subjects of the Far East - Vladivostok, Kamchatka Territory, the Sakhalin Region, and in the most daring scenario - and Chukotka. However, so far the project is idle.

- Against the backdrop of the ever-growing cruise traffic in Asia (cruise tourism in the Asia-Pacific region is the second most developed in the world, second only to the Caribbean basin. -EastRussia) The Far East is at an early stage of development, says Valery Nagorny, Director General of the Vladivostok Sea Terminal. - The issue of interaction between cruise ports and the cities of the region has been on the agenda for a long time already. I hear and appreciate the proposals to create a business network between cruise ports. Such schemes are well implemented in Europe, we have examples of the Association of Baltic ports, as well as Mediterranean ports.

Experts predict that by 2020 in Asia the total flow of cruise tourists will be 7 million people. Traffic will also increase at the expense of Europeans and Americans, who are already sending their interest to the East: large companies of these countries lift their liners from local lines and send them to Asia. According to the speakers of the forum, against this background Vladivostok would look good as an ideal transit port.

"Each of the tourists now spend an average of about 100 dollars a day on purchases in Vladivostok, which is a good amount," says Igor Glukhov. - So all the investments in the infrastructure of the ports will quickly pay off, you just have to do everything in time.

However, tourists are not only interested in Vladivostok: according to Ivan Shevchenko, from Japan there is a demand for a cruise line along the ports of Sakhalin, in fact, apart from Korsakov, there are several of them, including Kholmsk. This line operated on Sakhalin in the days of the USSR, and then came to naught due to political processes. Meanwhile, if to renew such a line, colossal infusions into the infrastructure are necessary: ​​there are no modern sea terminals in any port of Sakhalin. And it's not only in the condition of the ports, but also in the low attractiveness of the non-capital cities in the region: they are poor at sight and roads to decent urban infrastructure.
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