A Russian news agency is reporting that Philippine Airlines will begin service between the Philippines and Russia on October 27.
|Copyright Photo: Lester Tangco/PPSG|
According to the Director of Sales & Marketing at the Department of Tourism office in Russia, Valery Ishunkin, the airline plans to connect Manila with direct flights to Vladivostok. "Philippine Airlines, which represents the 'tour operator,' will begin to operate flights from Vladivostok to Manila every ten days with Airbus A320 aircraft," said Ishunkin.
Ishunkin added that the charter flights to Vladivostok will gradually pave the way for future direct flights between the Philippines and other cities in Russia. "We're starting out small. Vladivostok is a much needed market so we decided to make our first attempt there by actively promoting the Philippines as a destination before launching flights to the Far East," said Ishunkin. "Of course, the next step is to develop other regions particularly Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, and Moscow. But the volume of tourist traffic from St. Petersburg is very small so it is unlikely that any flights will be implemented there."
The opening of a direct air link between the Philippines and Russia is expected to boost the number of Russian tourist arrivals to the Philippines. "According to our calculations, the increase in Russian tourist arrivals to the Philippines will be approximately six to seven thousand people," said Ishunkin.
According to the Philippine Department of Tourism, more than twenty thousand Russians visited the Philippines in the first half of 2013. That represents a 60% increase in Russian arrivals from the previous year. Russia has been identified by the Department of Tourism as an important secondary source market for tourists that is not presently one of the country's top markets but is producing tremendous potential and double digit growth.
Benito Bengzon, Assistant Secretary for International Tourism Promotions, says that the Department of Tourism recently set up a route development team to encourage and promote more international flights to the country. "The new chartered flights from China, the first-ever scheduled direct flights from Singapore to Boracay, that has been all part of our route development efforts," said Bengzon. "We are talking to a few other airlines. Some we cannot say for now because they are yet to be finalized. But in the next two to three months, expect more airlines flying direct to our destinations."