Russian tourists arrive in first Manila-Russia charter flight
MANILA, Philippines - More than 100 Russian tourists from Vladivostok and Khabarovsk arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Sunday morning, October 27 aboard the first chartered flight by legacy carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL).
The maiden flight marks the first time a Philippine carrier commercially flew over Russian skies.
The Department of Tourism’s (DOT) bamboo musical group Pangkat Kawayan welcomed the tourists with renditions of Russian and Filipino songs.
After going through immigration and baggage clearance, the group, composed of families and young professionals, immediately headed to PAL’s domestic terminal to board their connecting flights to Cebu and Boracay, where they plan to spend their vacations.
Increasing Russian tourists
In the first 8 months of 2013, around 21,736 Russians arrived in the Philippines according to tourism department. This is a 32.53% increase from the number of Russian tourists that arrived in the same period of 2012.
From October 27, 2013 to April 2014, tourists from the Russian Far East cities Sakhalin Islands, Vladivostok and Khabarovsk can board 15 more chartered flights to Manila, a PAL official said.
The official also said that while there are no direct or scheduled flights between the 2 countries, meaning tickets are sold through travel agencies and not to individual passengers, PAL is planning to fly regularly to Moscow if bilateral air rights can be arranged.
PAL President Ramon Ang earlier said that the airline recognizes the growing demand for a direct air link to the Philippines by Russian tourists.
“Through this service, we hope to be able to serve this market and more importantly, help our government’s efforts to boost tourism,” Ang said.
More chartered flights?
The charter flight is in partnership with the Primorsky Agency of Aviation Companies Biletur, the biggest tour company in the Russian Far East region operating for the past 18 years.
Biletur representative Olga Borisik said more PAL flights will be chartered by her agency if the program is successful.
The travel agency sold 1,500 room nights in the Philippines to their clients. The bulk of Russian tourists will head to Boracay. - Rappler.com