THE Balearic Islands have become the second favourite tourist destination for the Russian market, after Cataluña. This was revealed by Balearics President Francesc Antich and representatives of Natalie Tours. In 2010, Natalie Tours brought 30,000 Russian and Ukrainian tourists to the archipelago and it is estimated that this number will increase by 40 per cent this year, according to Antich.
Antich put forth Russia as an example of an emerging tourist market that would be highly beneficial to the island since travellers from this country have high purchasing power and is a market with high potential for growth.
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He highlighted that this has been as a result of “efforts” of the Tourist Department in meeting with Natalia Vorobieva, Managing Director of Natalie Tours, the primary tour operator in Russia, at the annual congress in Mallorca in which 300 travel agents participated.
The idea is to create a so-called “Russia-Spain dual year to increase what the islands have to offer with fairs and other events”.
Tourespaña has organized for October a meeting of Russian tour operators in the Balearics.
This tour company has five weekly flights on Transaero to Mallorca and Ibiza from Moscow, St Petersburg and Yekaterinburg and another two to Mallorca from Kiev, between May and October.
“We guarantee that tourist numbers will rise,” stated Vorobiev, who affirms that the attracting elements are “the culture, cuisine, nature, and the beach and sun.”
Regarding the possible diversion of Russian tourists to the archipelago that had previously planned to travel to Egypt or Tunisia, Natalie Tours director says it will not be “significant because the travelers that go to these countries are less affluent, so if they cannot go to Egypt it is unlikely they can afford to go to more prestigious destinations.”
By Nicole Hallett