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From mini-cruises to elite tours

Prospects for the cruise ship market in the south of the Far East are estimated by an expert of the FEFU

From mini-cruises to elite tours
Photo: shutterstock.com

Lyudmila Derkacheva

Associate Professor of the Department of Service and Tourism of the School of Economics and Management of the FEFU, Candidate of Geographical Sciences
The permission in 2017 for boats and small boats to transport tourists, despite administrative and legal barriers and lack of coastal infrastructure in the places of landing of tourists ashore, already this summer led to a noticeable revival in the work of tourist companies offering excursion mini-cruises in the Peter the Great Bay .

In the future it can become a powerful incentive for boat owners and representatives of the tourist business to expand the list and geography of sea excursions, not limited to offers in the Golden Horn, Ajax, Novik and Amur Bay bays allowed to visit the areas of the Far East Marine Reserve. The expansion of the geography of mini-cruises is possible due to the use of the resources of the marine areas of the Lazovsky Reserve and the northernmost in the Primorie Territory - Sikhote-Alin.

As the experience of travel companies showed, even despite the rainy and cool enough summer of 2018, one-day excursion sea cruises were popular enough in the water area of ​​Peter the Great Bay with landing on the island of. Lysias, about. Putyatin, the islands of the archipelago of the Empress Eugenia, a visit to the bays and about. Furugelma on the territory of the Marine Reserve. The restraining factor is the short season of tourist service, which is still associated with the possibility of beach and bathing holidays in the region. Its duration in the very south of the Primorsky Territory, limited by a water temperature of at least 18 degrees Celsius, can reach 110 days in some years, but is often greatly reduced by frequent fogs and rains.

Marine waters and the coast of the Far East are interesting for tourists, first of all, a unique nature. It combines the diversity of both subtropical species of plant and animal life of the coast and marine areas, as well as the harsh nature of the Polar region and its inhabitants, which can be seen in their natural habitat. You can see this magnificence of nature only by using the possibilities of expedition cruise tourism.

In the world such expedition cruises began to be offered, unlike sea cruises, recently - a little more than 20 years ago. Russia already has experience in organizing unique cruises in the north of the European territory of the country - around the islands of the Arctic Ocean (Franz Josef Land, Novaya Zemlya), as well as the North Pole from Murmansk.

There was also the first experience of organizing excursion cruises in the Far East - on the coast of the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. This tour includes a visit to Fr. Wrangel, a journey along the shores of Sakhalin and Kamchatka with a visit to the Commander Islands, the Kuril Islands. In July-August, when the coastal strip of the sea is ice-free, tourists are offered an 15-day trip along the route that starts and ends in the port of Anadyr. The cruise ship skirts Cape Dezhnev, the tourists are disembarked on. Wrangel, where you can see white owls, polar terns, tapas, seals, walruses, strong musk oxen and a herd of reindeers, well, if you're lucky - a polar bear, and then continue traveling along the shores of northern Siberia. Landing tourists in the places of residence of the indigenous peoples of the North, guests are invited to get acquainted with the life of local residents, who until now, like their ancestors, hunt seals.

The implementation of such programs is carried out on the research ship Professor Khromov, owned by Hydrometflot, the operator is Far Eastern Regional Research Hydrometeorological Institute. The vessel was completely refitted in 1998 year with the expectation of comfortable accommodation up to 50 passengers. There is a restaurant, a bar, a lounge for relaxation, a library, a medical service and a telephone satellite connection for calls and e-mails, as well as Zodiac-type boats and two all-terrain hovercrafts. This allows travelers to live and feel comfortable on board, to get acquainted with unique natural objects even in especially difficult for landings places of the Far East coast.

The experience of organization of expedition cruise trips to areas with more severe climatic conditions (Arctic, Antarctic) is available to the crew of the icebreaker "Captain Khlebnikov", assigned to the Far Eastern Shipping Company. Reconstructed from 1990 year for servicing cruise sightseeing tours to the Arctic and Antarctic, the ship has equipped cabins, a cinema, a library, a restaurant, a gym, a swimming pool and a sauna. It allows to deliver tourists to places with extreme conditions. In 2017, tourists on board traveled from Anadyr along the northern shores of Russia to Murmansk, Norway, Greenland, the Arctic and Alaska.

The experience of organizing marine expedition cruises in modern conditions among representatives of the tourist business in Primorsky Krai is not, it is necessary to start everything from scratch. Therefore, at the first stage of development of marine expedition cruise tourism in Primorsky Krai, it is more expedient to use the opportunities already available in the region - on ships with experience of marine expedition cruises: - the icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov and the ship Professor Khromov. Currently, the Department of Tourism of Primorsky Krai already discusses the organization of cruise expedition tours to the Arctic on the icebreaker "Captain Khlebnikov" with departure from Vladivostok.

The possibilities of the ship "Professor Khromov" and the experience accumulated by his team during travels in the water areas of the Sea of ​​Okhotsk and Beregoviy Sea will not only introduce tourists to the unique nature of the coast of the Sea of ​​Japan, but also expand the tourist season.

Cruise tourism is an elitist and rather expensive type of tourism. At the present stage it is important to offer products that meet the needs of tourists from Asian countries, focusing primarily on the markets of Japan, the Republic of Korea, China, and, of course, tourists from Russian regions. The organization of cruise activities in Primorsky Krai requires the professional training of personnel who have two or three languages ​​and the skills of servicing cruise tourists, guides and guides to work with tourists on expedition cruise programs.

The issue of purchasing a new cruise ship with the Vladivostok residence permit port is still relevant, but it is important to understand how much such a proposal can be commercially justified for the region today.