Cruise tours in the Caspian Sea, which will cover a number of Russian and Turkmen sights, are to be launched in 2020, elected Governor of Astrakhan Region Igor Babushkin reported in a RIA Novosti interview.
“Options of lines for 2020 navigation have already been developed, including the main tour from Astrakhan along the Caspian Sea, calling at the ports of Aktau, Turkmenbashy, Baku and Makhachkala. I have discussed the issue of visiting the Avaza Tourist Zone and the Port of Turkmenbashy with representatives of Turkmenistan”, he said.
As Babushkin informed, an agreement has been reached that a tour operator will be determined for the Turkmen part to organize tour programmes for cruise ship passengers during their stay in Turkmenistan.
In addition, according to Babushkin, this topic has already been discussed with the Ambassador of Kazakhstan. “I’m sure that both Iran and Azerbaijan will enthusiastically support this idea and the possibility of cruise tourism”, he said.
In general, he said, the interest of Russian and foreign tourists in the new cruise destination is large. According to Mosturflot OJSC, there are plans for 2020 to conduct three cruises along the Caspian Sea with the expected tourist flow about 1050 people.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, speaking at the 1st Caspian Economic Forum in Avaza in mid-August this year, said that the Caspian coast could receive at least 1 million tourists annually, but to achieve such indicators, it is still necessary to create the missing infrastructure and competitive tourist products, including cruise lines.
He recalled that recently shipbuilders of Astrakhan launched a new generation cruise ship Peter the Great which is to start for the first voyage next year. Medvedev specified that it will be possible to sail on this ship along a circular line, calling at the ports of all five Caspian countries or cruise in the Caspian, Black and Azov Seas.
The Turkmen resort infrastructure at the Caspian Sea is probably the “youngest” among the Caspian recreation centers. The Avaza National Tourist Zone project on the Turkmen coast of the Caspian Sea was launched in 2007. Over the past years, tens of tourist facilities have been built there. These include the high-class hotels, health resorts, holiday homes, yacht clubs, aqua parks and other leisure industry facilities.