WITH the robust growth in travel and tourism among millennials, the Russian Consulate in the Philippines is working on establishing a partnership with travel agencies to pave the way for a direct flight between the two countries especially this holiday season.
Honorary Consul to Russia Armi Garcia said that the consulate is creating a viable route from the Philippines to Russia and vice-versa to promote a two-way tourism between the two countries.
“We are working on a strategy to entice local tour companies in Russia to partner with their counterparts in the Philippines to make the route for millennial travelers from both countries easier,” Garcia said.
Garcia said they are already coordinating with both governments to realize this initiative.
“We met with the Deparment of Tourism to strategize how we can improve the Russian tourist arrivals. Since we do not have yet the direct flights, the only way to improve the travel route is to entice airline companies to put up direct flights especially on the the far-eastern side of Russia because it is the closest to us,” she said.
She said Filipino tourists can experience the different winter wonders in Russia like skiing, winter fishing and sleigh riding.
“We have to generate the traffic of tourists, which our local airlines are waiting for. So when we develop that interest, then we can expect direct flights,” she said.
She said Cebu is a promising island for Russian retirees who might want to settle for good here, especially in the beach areas.
“They want the beach. Aside from that our medical facilities are really good and that needs to be promoted,” she said.
Earlier, Garcia said the Consulate will be working closely with the Department of Tourism (DOT) to promote Philippine tourism in Russian social media channels.
She said the Russian Consulate and the Philippine-Russian Business Assembly will be helping the DOT through the Tourism Promotions Board to invite more Russians to come to the Philippines by tapping Russia’s social media platforms.
“We are ready to help (increase tourism arrivals to the country) through promotions,” she said.
Russian tourists are considered a high potential source of tourism revenue after the United Nations World Tourism Organization in 2015 said Russia is the world’s sixth biggest outbound market. Russian tourists spend a total of $35 billion during trips abroad, according to the DOT.
Last year, Cebu welcomed 12,428 Russian tourists, up by 30.90 percent from the 2016 arrivals of 9,424, based on the data obtained from DOT 7.
Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA)-Cebu officer-in-charge Elma Corbeta in September said that they are targeting Russian retirees to settle down in Cebu because of their high-end lifestyle and high purchasing power. (JOB)