Missing cruise ship calls ‘cost Russian economy £100m’

As much as £100 million could have been lost to the Russian economy in 2022 as cruise ships avoided its ports due to the war in Ukraine.

Tourism to alternative Baltic ports boomed as cruise lines sought alternative destinations rather than visiting destinations such as St Petersburg.

Passengers have been spending their money in Estonia and Latvia instead, according to an analysis by cruise agency Panache Cruises.

Baltic Sea cruises with a stop over in St Petersburg have long been popular but lines have diverted away with alternative itineraries  rather than taking passengers to Russia.

Overnight stopovers have been added in many Baltic ports with Tallinn in Estonia and Riga in Latvia being the big winners. 

Thousands of UK tourists have visited these cities for the first time in 2022 from cruise ships.

Prior to the pandemic around 650,000 cruise ship tourists visited Tallinn each year with a similar number also stopping at Riga. Experts estimated that they were spending around £50 million in each country.

Panache Cruises believes numbers have approximately doubled to 1.3 million over the past 12 months.

The analysis would mean around £100 million that would have been spent inside Russia has instead found its way to neighbouring states.

A Panache Cruises spokesperson said: “The war in Ukraine has had a number of unexpected consequences for Russia and one of them being a loss of tourist revenue as far north as St. Petersburg.

“The Russian city has long enjoyed a reputation as one of the highlights of a Baltic Sea cruise but since the situation in Ukraine began to unfold, cruise companies have been seeking out alternative destinations to take holidaymakers.

“Estonia and Latvia have been the main beneficiaries with the number of cruises to both roughly doubling in number in 2022 compared to before the pandemic.

“Our analysis estimates that numbers of cruises and therefore the number of tourists visiting Estonia and Latvia instead of Russia have doubled so it’s safe to assume spending has approximately doubled also.

“Industry estimates from 2018 had cruise ship tourists spending around £50 million in each location so if they have doubled this year it would mean that Russia has missed out on around £100 million.

“The feedback we have had from customers on both Tallinn and Riga has been outstanding. They are both beautiful capital cities and largely unspoiled compared to more visited destinations.

“British visitors report that their money goes much further than expected when visiting these cities as costs are still relatively low compared to St Petersburg so they represent great value for tourists.

“We see this trend continuing as long as the war in Ukraine goes on and even beyond that. It may take many years for St Petersburg to recover in terms of lost tourist revenue.”

Go to Source...