RP TOURISM OFF TO GOOD START WITH BIG GROUP OF RUSSIAN  TOURISTS

MANILA, January 31, 2006 (MALAYA) The Department of Tourism is off to a good start for 2006 as the biggest delegation of Russian tourists arrived as early as the first week of January to spend a half-month long vacation in the Philippines.

According to Tourism Secretary Ace Durano, the visit of the 334 Russian tourists is a clear manifestation of the success of the country’s promotion, such as the participation in the Spa and Health Moscow 2005 and Leisure Fair Moscow 2005 held in September last year.

"Our tourism campaign in Russia has certainly generated a lot of interest in the Philippines, and we would like to make sure this interest is sustained by coming up with new marketing strategies that will keep the country in equal footing, if not better, with its Southeast Asian neighbors, especially now that Southeast Asian countries are making quite an impression among the Russians," the tourism chief said.

Russia’s opening up to the world, booming economy, political stability, as well as its people’s fascination with Asia as an exotic destination, are the key factors that have made the DOT add Russia in its expanding list of relatively new target markets. Russian travelers have also been ranked by the World Tourism Organization as the tenth in the list of the world’s top spenders.

With a population of 278 million, the Russian Federation and the Commonwealth of Independent States are among the most promising markets in Europe. Tourism is its fastest growing sector, mainly due to the 70 years of travel restrictions. Based on a recent WTO survey, the significant increase in the number of Russians traveling abroad is expected to place Russia in the 10th rank with respect to tourism producing countries in the year 2020.

To show its determination in capturing a large share of Russia’s outbound travelers, the DOT launched the first Philippine guidebook in Russian. The year 2005 bore witness to an increase of 180 percent in arrivals from the Commonwealth of Independent States to the Philippines, which is enough reason for the Department to be confident that, with doubling its efforts, it will most likely be able to achieve twice as much growth rate by the end of 2006.

The two Russian groups arrived in the country aboard the Kras Air, which now offers chartered flights from the cities of Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk in the Siberian Federal Region to Cebu to accommodate the growing number of Russian tourists wanting to visit the Philippines. They are presently visiting the islands of Cebu, Bohol, and Boracay.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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