The largest Russian cruise companies recently announced the creation of NACO - National Association of Cruise Operators, which will operate under auspices of Russian Union of Travel Industry.
NACO includes a variety of agencies involved in cruise business, as well as major travel agents, making up 70% of the cruise market in Russia.
According to Valentin Eliseev, NACO’s Chairman, the main goal of the new association was promoting cruises in Russia and visits to Russian ports. An effort was also aimed at "putting a cap on fraud", which NACO considered a problem in domestic market.
Eliseev shared that one of the objectives of NACO would be to protect vacationers from scams and unfair identification of compamies that sell cruises. He added, that according to the data of the Association, up to 20% of Russian tourists bought cruises via foreign operators on the Internet, "at the risk of dealing with unscrupulous middlemen".
Last summer Royal Caravella promoted Black Sea cruises with calls in Crimea, Gemini. The cruises were registered in Delaware, had a Ukrainian phone number, but never took place.
The number of cruise frauds, according to NACO officials, was growing each year along with the Russian market, which was set to bounce back in 2015 from a down year in 2014.
The Russian cruise market is currently estimated at 50,000 to 60,000 passengers. The National Association of Cruise Operators in Russia hopes to put a joint advertising campaign with NACO members to promote cruises in the Russian market.