MOSCOW, January 19 (Itar-Tass) —— The wreck of the Italian Costa Concordia cruise ship has had no serious impact on the Russian market of sea and river voyages, a spokesperson for the Association of Russian Travel Operators said on Thursday.
“Cruises are booked in a regular volume, cancellations are scarce,” the spokesperson said. Tourism experts however do not rule out a possible decrease in this segment. “Booking may go down by 30 to 50 percent in the next couple of weeks,” they say adding that it will take several months to restore the market.
This opinion was shared by the spokeswoman of the Russian Union of Tourism Industry Irina Tyurina. “There are a number of cancellations of booked voyages but the overall demand seems to be as it was,” she said. “The bulk of tourists are changing to other Costa Cruises ships.”
According to Natalia Andronova, the director general of Atlantis Line, there are people among those who are still in Rome after the Costa Concordia wreck, who have opted for alternative cruises. “But first they must return home to be issued new passports and visas,” she said and added that none of the company’s clients has cancelled their booked voyages. “The interest in cruises is not going down, cruises and voyages are booked daily,” she noted.
The Italian Costa Concordia cruise ship, which wrecked off the Italian coast on January 13, was built in 2006 and cost Costa Cruises 450 million euros. She was to call at a number of Italian ports, as well as at the ports of Barcelona and Marseille. According to preliminary reports, the cruise liner hit an underwater rock and sustained a hole about 70 meters long. The cruiser was carrying 4,234 people, including members of the crew. Russia’s Federal Tourism Agency reported that there were 108 Russian tourists onboard the ship, and three Russian citizens among the crew members.