“Having the MedCruise event here has already helped us,” said Mikhail Sokolov, general manager, Odessa Sea Port Authority. “I want to express our gratitude to the Association for choosing Odessa to be the host of the event, especially as our number of ships has dropped due to the political situation.

“We hope that soon we can overcome these problems and the ships will come back,” said Sokolov. “MedCruise has already helped the Ukraine, as the issue is not our port or our city, as people can see. I think that some underestimated the value of this event.”

Odessa is expecting five ship calls in 2016, and in addition, the river business is also significantly off.

“We need s stable situation here,” said Elvira Leschinskaya, head of development and external relations for theOdessa Sea Port Authority. “To fully recover we’ll need several years as the cruise industry plan years ahead. This means that this year we have to work on targeting calls for 2018.”

“It’s also a matter of mass media knowing the real situation,” Sokolov added. “Our city is a safe, economically attractive city with a rich historical and cultural heritage and natural and recreational potential.”

Sokolov said passenger terminal upgrades will be done later this year, with five total berths available, and pointed to development in other ports in the Black Sea – important in building the region back up.

Photo: From left: Elvira Leschinskaya, Head of Development and External Relations, Odessa Sea Port Authority; and Mikhail Sokolov, General Manager, Odessa Sea Port Authority