Russian Deputy Ambassador says more tourist arrivals from Russia possible

ZAGREB, 6.5.2009.
The temporary suspension of visa requirements for Russians this summer and the temporary permission for older generation Russian planes to land at Croatian airports will impact tourist arrivals from Russia, which could exceed last year's figures, Russian Deputy Ambassador Boris Medvedev said after talks with Croatian Tourism Minister Damir Bajs on Wednesday.

The talks were held in the wake of a recent decision to suspend visa requirements for Russians and Ukrainians from May 1 to October 31 as part of the recently published Tourism Action Plan.

Medvedev added that it had already been agreed that, additionally to existing lines, Russian air carrier Aeroflot would fly to Split twice a week and to Zagreb on a daily basis as of May 30.

Bajs pointed out that Russians were "higher class tourists," i.e. 80% of those who were arriving in Croatia had a college education, meaning also that that they were interested in culture and spending more than EUR 100 per day while on vacation,

Bajs voiced confidence said measures would bring more arrivals from Russia. Last year's arrivals went up 11% year on year, while nights went up 12%.

The minister said that if these measures yielded a positive result, their continuation would be considered.

Also attending the talks were representatives of the Foreign Ministry and Croatian travel agencies.