Turkmenistan and Russia plan to launch joint cruise tours in the Caspian Sea beginning 2020, Igor Babushkin, an acting governor of Russia’s southern region of Astrakhan, said Monday in an interview with RIA Novosti.
“I discussed the issue of visiting the Avaza tourist zone and the port of Turkmenbashi with the representatives of Turkmenistan,” the governor said in a statement. “Some options for routes planned in 2020 are already developed, including the main one from Astrakhan along the Caspian Sea with a visit to ports in Aktau, Turkmenbashi, Baku, and Makhachkala.”
According to him, an agreement was reached that a tour operator will be assigned from the Turkmen side that will organize package tours for cruise ship passengers during their stay in Turkmenistan.
Meanwhile, Babushkin believes the other Caspian littoral states may join the ambitious project. “I am sure that both Iran and Azerbaijan will enthusiastically support the idea of ours and the possibility of launching cruise service,” he said.
Babushkin’s recent statement comes after the inaugural Caspian Economic Forum, which lasted from August 11-12 in Avaza National Tourist Zone. The gathering brought together high-ranking officials from the Caspian littoral states, including Russia’s Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, who claimed that the Caspian coastline can welcome at least 1 million tourists annually. At the same time, he said he believes local infrastructure should be developed to achieve such figures.