SOME 60 travel agents, members of Russian tour operators and the press specialising in tourism took part in a conference organised by the Balearic Ministry for Tourism in Moscow to raise Russian awareness of the tourism offers on the Balearic Islands.

The director general of Tourist Promotion, Joan Sastre; the heads of Tourism for Ibiza and Formentera; members of the Majorcan Tourist Board; the Majorcan Hoteliers Federation; the Balearic Golf Course Association; and some 20 companies from the Balearic tourism sector also took part in the conference, according to Balearic Government sources.

During the visit to Russia, which was part of the promotional activities being carried out in tourist markets, Sastre also met the director of the Spanish Tourism Office in Moscow, Luis Boves, to discuss the possible amount of business which the Russian tourist market could bring to the Balearics.

According to Boves, said the sources, the Russian market is an emergent market with good prospects for the future, and will be even more so when the procedure to get a visa, which the Russians need to visit Spain, has been speeded up.

The figures from the Spanish Tourism Office in Moscow indicate that Russia is the European country with the highest growth in tourism, and that Spain is their third most popular destination, after Turkey and Egypt.

The profile of the Russian tourist is a person with high spending power and a spending capacity which is predicted to grow by between 15 and 20 percent in the future, they added.

Because of this, the Russian market will be a priority among the medium term objectives of the Balearic Ministry for Tourism, which will study the possibility of carrying out new promotional campaigns specifically aimed at the Russian people.