Russia is planning to develop tourism for its share of the Caspian Sea, following the signing of the Convention On The Legal Status Of The Caspian Sea in Aktau, Kazakhstan on August 12.
“The specialized agencies of the five states could prepare a program of joint projects in the field of tourism,” Putin said on Sunday during the signing ceremony, according to TASS.
The long-standing dispute over the legal status of the Caspian Sea’s waters has been resolved, although the seabed – underneath which are rich deposits of oil and natural gas – is to be divided between the littoral states on the principles of international law, which will require additional agreements
According to Russian preliminary estimates, resorts along the Caspian will be able to receive about one million tourists if, according to Putin, modern tourist infrastructure is built.
“We are building cruise ships that will be able to enter all the countries located on the Caspian Sea,” Putin said, with the heads of the other four Caspian littoral states – Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Iran, and Turkmenistan – present.
“The same vessels have the ability to transport tourists from the Caspian Sea to the Black and Azov Seas. I think that this will bring our peoples closer together,” Putin said.
The Russian cruise ship “Peter the Great,” which is currently under construction, is expected to be launched in the Caspian by next year. The ship will hold up to 310 passengers, who will be housed in 155 cabins of different classes.
In 2017, Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company (ACSC) and the Moscow River Shipping Company (MRSC) signed a memorandum to cooperate in the Caspian region, collaborating on the use of “Peter the Great.” The two sides are developing the coastal infrastructure to organize cruise tours.
Deputy General Director for Tourism of the Mosturflot Cruise Company, Svetlana Goncharova, believes that “Peter the Great” entering the Caspian cruise market will open benefit all five littoral states.
“We planned to start with the Caspian Sea, as the ship goes down to the water in Astrakhan. According to our plans, the ship will enter the ports of Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan. Most of the Caspian cruises will start and end in Baku,” Goncharova said in an interview published on the website of the Association of Tour Operators of Russia.
According to Goncharova, there will be short cruises that last for 7-8 days and include stops at southern ports or northern ports, and longer versions, lasting up to two weeks and covering all five countries. She also mentioned the idea of organizing cruises that will travel to three seas, which are connected by rivers, namely the Caspian, Black and Azov Seas.
“We leave Baku in the Caspian Sea, go through Astrakhan to the Volgodonsk canal, go through Rostov-on-Don to Azov Sea, and from there to the Black Sea,” Goncharova explained.
“Further through the Kerch Strait, the vessel travels to Novorossiysk and Sochi [on the Black Sea], then to Georgia and Turkey, where we finish the route in Trabzon. There are several such cruises on the Black Sea in our plans,” Goncharova said.