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Plantation Bay optimistic about Russian travel market

PLANTATION Bay Resort and Spa is expecting an influx of Russian tourists following its successful travel road show last month.

The 10-day trip to Moscow and St. Petersburg was in support of the Duterte administration’s initiative to strengthen trade ties with Russia, one of the world’s most powerful economies, according to Efren Belarmino, the resort’s general manager.

“We arrived ahead of the President’s delegation. So far, (the results from the road show) it’s been good. We received positive feedback from the Russian market,” said Belarmino.

Plantation Bay brought 18 of its resort personnel to market the Philippines and Cebu to Russian travelers and business owners.

The 11.5-hectare resort property in Barangay Marigondon in Mactan has been getting high occupancy, mostly with Korean, Japanese and local guests. But Belarmino said he saw the need to expand the resort’s network and tap the Russians because of their profile as big spenders and long-staying guests.

Nikita Osharov, director of Pelagos Tours, in past interviews said that unlike Koreans and Japanese who stay in Cebu for two to three days, Russian tourists spend at least a month when on vacation, the reason Cebu needs to add more tour activities to keep them entertained.

The Department of Tourism has long considered the Russian market as an “opportunity market” for the Philippines, given the market’s huge potential contribution to the economy.

Around 50 percent of Russian tourists who visit the Philippines become repeat clients, according to a Russian travel and tours agency.

Vand International’s Svetlana Muromskayas, in a meeting with Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo in Russia, pointed out that the Philippines has a “growing Russian clientele.”

“Our clients have very good opinion of the Philippines. The people, especially, are very nice. Fifty percent of Russians who go to the Philippines become repeat clients. They come back after a year or two,” Muromskaya said in a statement.

A joint action program of tourism cooperation was signed by the DOT and the Federal Agency of Tourism of Russia last month, one of the nine bilateral agreements signed during that trip.

The bilateral tourism agreement states that both parties will exchange, on a regular basis, information related to ensure tourists’ safety in the territory of the country. It is also expected to boost tourism exchange in education and training and exchange of information and experts among tourist organizations of both countries.

The DOT also disclosed that the Russian government is exploring the possibility of organizing a Russian language training program for Filipino tourism industry workers.

Russia is listed among the “high growth markets” with 9,152 arrivals in January to February this year, up by 29.24 percent from last year. Cebu welcomed 9,494 Russians last year while the entire region logged 15,519 Russian tourists last year, up by 3.43 percent from 15,005 arrivals in 2015.

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