Soviet market has traditionally been neglected in the BalearicsBalearic tourism chief Celesti Alomar and chairman of the Mallorca Russian Promotions (MRP) association Bartomeu Frau are collaborating in the promotion of the Balearics as a holiday destination for Russians. At the moment, some 20'000 Russian tourists a year visit the island and the ministry hopes to increase this. Alomar is the president of Enturib, a Balearic tourism promotion body, which will provide 60'800 euros for organising eight of the 16 promotional receptions the MRP, which involves almost 40 companies, plans to hold in Russian or former Soviet cities. According to Frau, the number of Russian visitors who currently reach the islands is insignificant, as it represents barely four per cent of the half a million Russians who visit Spain every year, most of them going to the Catalan coasts. According to Oscar Mas, the manager of MRP, which specialises in promoting tourist and industrial products, this is due to the traditional neglect of this market and other factors, such as slowness in granting visas and the lack of air links. A ban on large planes crossing European Union air space has also caused a drop of 20 per cent in the number of Russian visitors to Spain this year. Despite this, Mas was convinced that Russian tourism has enormous potential adding that studies show they spend an average of 144 euros (compared to 24 euros of other nationalities such as Germans) and they spend more time in the islands. Mas stressed that it was mainly family tourism and they were interested in the culture of the countries they visited. Alomar said that the agreement was part of their policy to diversify markets, which will also lead to more promotion in the Nordic countries, Benelux and Eastern
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