Black Sea region instability hits cruise ship business for Bulgarian port cities

Bulgaria’s Black Sea port cities of Varna and Bourgas will see no cruise ships dock in summer 2018, a result of companies’ concern about the geopolitical situation in the Black Sea region.

Cruise companies plan ship voyages about two to three years in advance, meaning that events such as Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and ongoing political tensions in Turkey are now knocking Black Sea maritime tourism.

The absence of cruise ships in 2018 is in contrast to the picture four years earlier. The year 2014 was a record one for cruise ships visiting Bulgaria, with the Black Sea port of Varna seeing 40 passenger vessels with more than 25 000 tourists and Bourgas and Nessebur totalling a similar number.

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(Photo: Brian Burnell)