MONTEGO BAY, St James — Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett has disclosed that the nearly 300 tourists who arrived on the inaugural Pegas Touristik and Nordwind Airlines new nonstop flight from Moscow, Russia, to the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay yesterday are the final set of tourists from that country who will require visas to visit Jamaica.
“The Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is planning for you by way of visitor facilitation. So we have abandoned and abolish visas, so you are the last set to arrive in Jamaica with visa restrictions,” Bartlett disclosed during a welcome reception ceremony at the Sangster International Airport.
He added: “The next set of Russians who arrive in Jamaica will not need a visa for 90 days. And it will allow you to have the benefit of Jamaica for 90 days.”
He also noted that the flight will signal the opportunity to promote the much-touted multi-destination tourism.
“The excitement that you (Russians) provide for us now gives us an opportunity to build out the multi-destination that we have been talking about. Now you fly into Jamaica, you fly into Cuba, and you fly into Dom Rep. Here is a wonderful opportunity for us to pull that together and to offer to the Russian visitors multi-destination tourism experiences,” Bartlett said.
The plane, which is the largest to arrive in the island from Russia, landed at the Montego Bay airport with 310 passengers and crew.
It is expected to arrive in the tourism resort city, firstly every 10 days, then grow to once weekly.
“I am advised that the ambition is not about one in 10 days, but we are soon to have one per week and then after that the ambition is to have all year round,” Bartlett said.
Senior advisor and strategist for tourism, Delano Seiveright, noted that the new flight will pace the destination to another record-breaking year.
“The Russian tourism market has been growing at a steady pace. Pegas Touristik and Nordwind will fly into the Sangster International Airport every 10 days up to May 2019, adding nearly 5,400 new tourists to our count as we sprint steadily towards another record-breaking year for arrivals and stopovers,” Seiveright noted.
The flight was met by a delegation led by Minister Bartlett, Mayor of Montego Bay Homer Davis; Director of Tourism Donovan White; Seiveright; Head of Consular Section, Russian Embassy Jamaica, Alexsei Sazonov, and other officials.