TTC Service.- Russian carrier Nordwind Airlines inaugurated a charter flight from Moscow to Santo Domingo, with the arrival of 486 tourists to the Dominican Republic capital.
The airline features 777 300ER aircraft, with capacity for 500 passengers.
Dominican airports management company Aerodom said to Dominican Today web site that Nordwind Airlines will also ply the Moscow-Samaná route.
The arrival of that flight shows that Russian tourist links with the Dominican Republic continue to expand, a process that does not begin now.
According to Dominican statistics, 158,415 Russian visitors arrived in 2012, making it now the country’s fourth leading source market for tourism after the US, Canada and France.
Experts said that the rate of growth is phenomenal. There are twelve Russian flights a week arriving into Punta Cana: Transaero from Moscow and St Petersburg (eight a week; Aeroflot from St Petersburg (two a week); and Orenair from Moscow (two a week); with charters also coming from St Petersburg, Moscow and Ekaterinburg.
Over the last two to three years Russian engagement in the Caribbean has been growing.
According to a regional analysis the new Russian presence in the Caribbean is demonstrated in the form of its tourists coming into the region in rapidly increasing numbers.
Until few years ago, Cuba was the only Caribbean destination for Russian visitors but now, so rapidly have Russian numbers to the Dominican Republic increased, that Russia has overtaken Germany as a source market and may soon do the same in relation to France, its third largest market after the US and Canada.
In part this reflects the huge investment the country has put into promoting itself in Russia as a part of its drive to develop new source markets.
Most Russian visitors to the Caribbean region are aged between 25 and 45, come from an educated, upper-middle class demographic, have high purchasing power and increasingly want sun, sea and to shop ideally where some Russian is spoken; a challenge the Dominican Republic is rising to.
In the region so far, Jamaica is the only CARICOM nation actively courting Russian tourists, receiving a twice weekly service from Moscow into Montego Bay. However, Barbados, the Bahamas and some Eastern Caribbean nations have also begun to consider the possibilities.