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Russia Introduces New Direct Flights To Africa, Asia & Middle East

In a sign that Russia’s push towards a multipolar world is gaining traction, and that the international community is happy to connect with the with country, Vladimir Poteshkin, Russia’s Deputy Transport Minister has stated that direct flights to Tanzania, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia are due to begin before the end of this year. New direct flights to Vietnam, Bahrain, Jordan and Tunisia have been available since the beginning of this year.

Poteshkin said that “Currently, Russian airlines operate 1,124 aircraft, and 19 Russian airlines fly to 25 foreign countries. In turn, 54 airlines from 30 countries fly to Russia. It is safe to say that we have close relations with friendly states. We are interacting at every level, including with respective transport ministries and tourist industries.” He was speaking at the plenary session of the Travel tourist forum at Moscow’s VDNKh exhibition center.

Economic Development Minister Maxim Reshetnikov said earlier that Persian Gulf countries had become a primary inbound tourism market for Russia, while the introduction of a visa-free system was being discussed with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait.

Kuwait and Saudi Arabia offer more business opportunities, while Tanzania and Indonesia also provide this but are more tourism focused. Tanzania is popular for wildlife safari’s, while Indonesia is a huge country, with the popular tourist destination of Bali Island. Russian outbound tourists are seeking new destinations after the collapse and expense of tourism to Western Europe after EU airlines banned flights between Russia and the EU. The EU has also made the visa process extremely difficult for Russian nationals and has banned the import of Russian products.

The process has also damaged the EU tourist industry. According to the European Commission, in 2021, over 3 million Russians held Schengen tourist visas, with the majority being issued by Greece, Spain and Italy. That deceased to just under 450,000 in 2023, a decline of over 2.5 million Russian visitors. The Russian Association of Travel Agents data shows that 14 million Russian tourist travelled overseas last year, an increase of 27.6%.

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