Crimea: the Next Yachting Hotspot?

Vladimir Putin announces $2 billion plan to lure back yachts that fled annexation.

Planned Crimea marina development

This $170 million marina development is planned in Evpatoria.Courtesy Crimea Investments to the Future

Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a $2 billion initiative to develop yachting tourism and ease entry procedures in Crimea, with a goal of bringing back yachts that left the Black Sea resort destination during Russia’s annexation of the region.

According to multiple news sources, the plan includes building as many as 15 new marinas by the year 2020.

Currently, yachting business is down by more than 60 percent in the region, according to one official’s account. Many of the yachts that used to base in Crimea reportedly have moved to ports in Ukraine, Turkey and Greece.

Crimea and the Black Sea are accessible to yachts by way of straits from the Sea of Marmara (on the other side of Istanbul, Turkey), which connects to the Aegean Sea and the broader Mediterranean Sea. The Black Sea endures more rain and humidity than the Mediterranean, but it is a popular boating location during the months of July and August.

An increase in marina facilities combined with an easing of entry procedures could do more than lure back yachts that left during the annexation of Crimea. It also could encourage new tourism business. In recent years, at least one internationally known charter yacht had to scuttle plans to offer bookings in Russia because of administrative challenges and entry barriers. If the plans Putin is making for Crimea carry through to broader Russia, then yachts traveling the northern coast through the Baltic Sea also could benefit.