The FINANCIAL -- Batumi Sea Port (BSP) plans to receive 14 cruise ships during 2012.
Eight of them are already confirmed; the remaining six are in the process of negotiation. 4,800 marine passengers are expected to visit Georgia in total this year.
Last year Batumi Port hosted six cruise ships. The number of passengers overall was 2,030. The UK, Germany, Italy, the USA and the Netherlands are the main countries from which most marine tourists visit Batumi.
The marine passenger terminal is situated in the centre of Batumi, in the seaside boulevard. The throughput efficiency is about 180,000 passengers annually.
“In September 2012 the cruise company Royal Caribbean will complete the design works for the new port. Actual construction will begin in October 2012,” Sophio Lazishvili, Deputy Head of the Department of Tourism and Resorts of Adjara A.R, told The FINANCIAL.
Cruise company Royal Caribbean International was founded in 1969. Its headquarters is located in Miami. Royal Caribbean International is the second largest cruise company after Carnival Cruise Lines. Company Royal Caribbean International controls 25% of the cruise market.
Representatives of travel agencies say they do not offer marine trips to Georgians because of the sheer lack of demand.
“We have been present on this market for more than a decade but demand for marine trips has always been nonexistent. We have never been contacted by anyone with the desire to take a cruise trip. If we ever experience such demand then we will certainly start catering to it,” said Zviad Jakeli, Deputy Director at TeRo Agency.
TeRo Agency was established in Batumi in February 1995 as one of the first private agencies in the sea ports of the Republic of Georgia. As a ship agency the company began by handling bulk carriers, dry cargo vessels and tankers at the Port of Batumi.
The annual profit of BSP in 2011 before taxation was GEL 13,034,138. Compared with 2010, in 2011 BSP revenue grew by 18.3%. Active development of port infrastructure in 2011 resulted in an increase of expenses by 27.7% compared with last year.