By Humphrey Carter

OVER half a million Russian holiday makers come to Spain every year, mostly to the mainland, but the Balearics believes that Russia can become one of the region's new holiday markets.

Balearic Minister for Tourism Miguel Nadal, has spoken regularly of the need for the industry to discover and open new markets, especially during this recession, and now the Balearics is going to mount a serious assault on the Russian market.

Last year, 36'000 Russian tourists came to the Balearics, 23 percent more than during 2007 and, according to the Ministry for Tourism's Russian tourism consultants, Russian holiday makers are big spenders.

Apparently, while British and German visitors spend an average of 35 euros per day, middle class Russian holiday makers spend between 150 and 200 euros per day.

Russians also want more than sun, sea and sangria. They apparently like to shop, visit museums and eat well.
Miguel Nadal yesterday unveiled a Russian promotional campaign which is going to be mounted on two fronts in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Nadal said that the campaign is going to be aimed at middle to high class Russians who live in areas like Siberia where they spend eight months of the year living with temperatures of -38ºC.

This year, a guide to the Balearics is available at local tourist offices in Russian and Nadal explained that a long term tourist promotion campaign is being drawn up. The Palma School of Languages is already offering classes in Russian to the tourist sector and in September, Nadal will be hosting a meeting in Majorca with Russia's main airlines in a bid to increase direct air links to the main regional Russian capitals.