Cebu to cater more chartered flights from Russia, says DOT
Cebu City – As proof that Cebu continues to be among the top travel destinations in Asia, the province is expected to welcome six chartered flights from Russia until March this year, a Department of Tourism (DoT) official said.
Tourism Undersecretary for Planning and Promotions Eduardo Jarque Jr. said Cebu expects approximately six chartered flights from Russia before March at an interview where he also announced the arrival of the second batch of Russian tourists en route to Cebu.
Composed mainly of families, 290 Russians in the second batch were coming to visit Cebu’s world renowned beaches and historical hotspots.
“They are here to enjoy the tropical weather of the Philippines because in Russia, it is the peak of the winter season. Cebu, being a beach destination, is the right place for them to relax,” Jarque said.
These Russian visitors are the second batch to visit Cebu. Last December, a group of 141 Russians also came to Cebu via a chartered flight from Vladivostock, Russia, and stayed in the Philippines until January 9, Jarque added.
Apart from Cebu, other tour destinations include Manila (for dining and shopping); Boracay (for its beaches); and Palawan (for adventure and eco-tourism).
“They are specifically amazed with our malls here because it’s a one-stop destination already,” he noted.
Jarque said DoT officials welcomed the first batch of chartered flights from Russia at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport where the foreign guests were provided with tour kits and brochures already translated to Russian.
He said hotel players have even employed Russian staff to cater specifically to this travel market.
The Philippines, being the closest tropical destination to the eastern part of Russia, is expecting a surge of arrivals from this area, given that the distance is only a five-hour flight.
The Russian market has been constantly eyed by the DoT as an emerging travel market for the Philippines. Russians are considered to be among the top high-spending visitors.
“More than average, Russians spend US$ 150 to US$ 225 per day,” Jarque said, adding that while Russians are “budget-conscious” when it comes to preferring cheaper travel packages, they are known to splurge on hotel accommodations, food, and other expenses.
He said that while the international travel market, especially for long-haul destinations, is expected to slow down this year, chartered flights, like those from Russia are a welcome development for the Philippine tourism industry.
“As long as we have interesting airfares plus a combination of value for money, then it will still be an interesting year for the tourism industry here,” Jarque concluded.
Author: Malou M. Mozo