Black Sea region instability hits cruise ship trade for Bulgarian port cities

Bulgarian Black Sea port cities of Varna and Bourgas will not see any cruise ships dock in the summer of 2018, due to concern about the geopolitical situation in the Black Sea region.

Cruise lines plan ship trips about two to three years in advance, which means events such as Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and ongoing political tensions in Turkey are now hitting maritime tourism. from the Black Sea.

Lack of cruise ships in 2018 contrasts with the picture four years earlier. 2014 was a banner year for cruise ships visiting Bulgaria, with the Port of Varna on the Black Sea seeing 40 passenger ships with over 25,000 tourists and Bourgas and Nessebur totaling a similar number.

At the time, tour operator Vladimir Karadzhov said that a ship with more than 2,000 passengers on board averaged 300,000 to 4,000 euros per day for Varna.

The public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television said the May 15, 2018 that the fact that no cruise ships come to Varna this season would not cause significant financial losses to the port of Varna, but would have a negative effect on the local economy.

Stoyan Marinov of the Varna Chamber of Tourism said that over the past two years the situation has been extremely unfavorable and most operators avoid Black Sea cruises.

Port Varna East manager Lyubomir Dobrev said that for 2019 there was a reservation for one visit and for 2020 there were two, “which is a good sign”…. / IBNA

Main photo: Brian Burnell

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