Global CLIA will apparently not include Russia, as the largest cruise companies in Russia have recently announced the creation of the National Association of Cruise Operators (NACO), which will operate under the auspices of the Russian Union of the Travel Industry.
NACO includes various agencies involved in the business and major travel agents, making up 70 percent of the Russian cruise market.
According to NACO’s Chairman, Valentin Eliseev, the main goal of the association will be promoting cruising in Russia and cruise calls to Russian ports. One effort is also aimed at putting a cap on fraud, which NACO considers a problem in the domestic market.
“One of the objectives of the organization will be to protect tourists from scams and unfair identification of organizations that sell cruises. According to the data of NACO, up to 20 percent of Russian tourists buy cruises via foreign tour operators on the internet, at the risk of dealing with unscrupulous middlemen,” said Eliseev.
For example, last summer Royal Caravella advertised cruises in the Black Sea with calls in Crimea on the Gemini. They were registered in Delaware and had a Ukrainian phone number, but these cruises never took place.”
According to NACO officials, the number of cruise fraud cases each year is growing along with the Russian cruise market, which is set to bounce back this year from a down year in 2014.
Currently the Russian cruise market is estimated at around 50,000 to 60,000 passengers.
NACO also hopes to put together a joint advertising campaign with its members to promote cruising in the Russian market.