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Jamaica welcomes Russian tourists

KINGSTON — Seven years after Jamaica started courting the eastern Europeans, the first Russian carrier Transaero arrived on the island yesterday.

From left: The first passenger off the Russian carrier Transaero, Sarokin Igor, is met by Minister of Tourism Dr Wykeham McNeill; Director of Tourism John Lynch; head of the Consular Section at the Russian Embassy, Andrey Dryakin; and Mayor of Montego Bay Glendon Harris.

The flight, a boost to the winter tourist season, landed at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St. James, with 320 passengers aboard from Moscow, Russia.

In a welcome ceremony at the airport, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment Dr. Wykeham McNeill reiterated the importance of airlift to the survival of the island’s tourist industry.

“The arrival of this flight has again signalled that our efforts to boost airlift and open up new markets continue to bear fruit,” he stated.

“The start of this flight service has been long overdue and now we can truly say ‘the Russians are coming’,” he quipped.

McNeill said the new gateway opens up a new market for Jamaica, one that will allow thousands of Russian nationals to enjoy a Jamaican vacation. It also provides the opportunity for Jamaica to intensify its efforts to attract visitors from this very important market.

Excited about the prospects, the tourism minister credited Transaero for bringing together two worlds and two cultures.

The flight will run until October, five months more than initially intended. Plans are also in train to extend the schedule to at least the end of 2013.

Transaero flies to 40 countries on 130 routes and has hubs in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Yekaterinburg. The airline operates flights between Moscow and Belorussia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. It also operate flights out of other countries such as Austria, Cyprus and Greece. (Gleaner)

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