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Russian tourists to Philippines double in first 2 months of 2005
Source: Manila Bulletin
Author: -
Date: 2005-03-30
The number of tourists visiting the Philippines from Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU) doubled in January and February 2005, compared to the same period last year, the Philippine Embassy in Moscow said recently.

"The Embassy is continuing its efforts to further promote Philippine tourism and increase the number of Russian tourists to the Philippines," Ambassador Ernesto V. Llamas said in a report to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Based on its visa records, the Embassy issued a total of 298 tourist visas in the first two months, mostly to Russian nationals, compared with the 149 tourist visas in January-February 2004. The tally for January rose by 43 percent from 62 visas in 2004 to 89 in 2005. Visas issued in February rose at a more impressive 140 percent, with 209 visas in 2005 compared with 87 in 2004.

With all visas taken into consideration, the rate of increase is even more impressive at 119 percent, 431 tourist, business, diplomatic and transit visas issued this year compared with only 197 for the same period last year.

In the absence of a bilateral visa-waiver agreement, now common among European countries, all Russian citizens are required to obtain a visa to enter the Philippines.

For this reason the number of visas issued by the Embassy is an accurate indicator of the total arrivals in the Philippines of tourists from Russia and FSU.

In 2003, a total number of 3,000 arrivals were recorded from the entire FSU, including Ukraine and Belarus, while a total of 3,500 was recorded in 2004, indicating an increase by 16 percent, which is also the growth target of total arrivals in the Philippines of tourists from Russia and FSU set by the Department of Tourism (DoT).

Eduard Grigoriev, the DoTís Marketing representative for Russia and the FSU, said the increase was a result of the publicity and promotions work pushed by the Embassy and DoT office in Frankfurt, as well as the decision by the DoT to finance the unprecedented participation of the Philippines at the Otdykh Leisure Fair at the Olympic Stadium in last year. He added that there is every indication that the goal of 5,000 arrivals from the FCU will be reached in 2005.

Last year, a survey revealed that Russians are spending 96 percent of annual travel expenditures of US$260 million on overseas trips, which made them on the 10th biggest country of origin of outbound travels by the year 2020 as forecasted by the World Tourism Organization. The top destinations for Russians are Turkey, China, Egypt and Thailand


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