The cruise ships desert Russian ports. If your Baltic Sea voyages with a stopover at St.Pietroburgo have long been popular with British holidaymakers, now shipping companies are choosing alternative itineraries for their tours. It is one of the many repercussions of the war in Ukraine on the economy of the Russian Federation and according to experts in the sector “it could take many years for St. Petersburg to recover in terms of lost tourist revenues”. Indeed, the new destinations are very popular with holidaymakers and overnight calls in Baltic ports such as Tallinn in Estonia and Riga in Latvia are now number one in the rankings, with thousands of British tourists visiting these cities for the first time in 2022 aboard cruise ships. Looking at the market data Great Britainanalysis conducted by luxury cruise portal Panache Cruises records the collapse of Russia, which lost £100m from this wealthy tourism sector last year to the benefit of Eastern European ports, Latvians and Estonians at the top to everyone.
The stopover in St. Petersburg has been eliminated
As regards cruises in the Baltic Sea, the stopover in St. Petersburg has been eliminated and replaced by night calls in Tallinn and Line. Before the pandemic, around 650,000 sea travelers visited the Estonian city each year, with a similar number of tourists also stopping in the Latvian capital, and according to estimates they spent around £50m in each country. However in the last twelve months Panache Cruises estimates that these numbers have doubled to 1.3 million, with spending in each destination estimated at around £100 million by cruise ship passengers alone. The experts they believe the trend is here to stay as the airlines have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from their customers regarding the new destinations. «The war in Ukraine has had a number of unexpected consequences for Russia and one of them has been the loss of tourist revenue up to St. Petersburg – says the Panache Cruises spokesman – The Russian city has long enjoyed a solid reputation as one of the favorite destinations for cruises in the Baltic Sea, but since the situation in Ukraine has worsened, operators have been looking for alternative destinations to take vacationers». Thus Estonia and Latvia have established themselves among the main beneficiaries, with the number of cruises almost doubling in 2022 compared to before the pandemic.
More money to spend
“Our analysis estimates that the number of cruises and therefore the number of tourists visiting Estonia and Latvia instead of Russia has doubled, so it is safe to assume that spending is also approximately double,” he underlines. Panache Cruises “Industry estimates from 2018 projected cruise ship tourists to spend around £50m at each location, so that would mean Russia lost around £100m.” The response from tourists, the operators assure, was enthusiastic: “Tallinn and Riga are beautiful capitals and largely untouched compared to the more popular destinations”. And British visitors report that they have much more money to spend when visiting these cities, because the cost of living is lower than in St. Petersburg. “We expect this trend to continue until the war in Ukraine is over and beyond,” the experts say. “It could take many years for St. Petersburg to recover in terms of lost tourism revenue.”
Cruise ships desert St. Petersburg, Russia loses 100 million pounds from British companies alone