HAVANA, Cuba (ACN) -- Aeroflot and other Russian airlines will commence direct flights to several Cuban international airports, thanks to an agreement signed this week by officials of both nations.
Valery Okulov, Russia´s Deputy Minister of Transport and Ricardo Santillan, vice president of the Cuban Institute of Civil Aeronautics, signed a memorandum amending the intergovernmental agreement on air services originally signed in 2007.
Prensa Latina news agency said the new clause also allows Cuban flights to expand their destinations beyond Moscow airport.
This agreement also supports the promotional strategy Auténtica Cuba, developed by Cuban Ministry of Tourism (MINTUR), which has already offices in Moscow and St Petersburg.
This campaign began in 2010, and it has already had a positive experience by organizing a tour to South America Southern Cone, which showed Argentina as Cuba’s fourth largest tourist source market.
MINTUR representatives have traveled to potential markets like India and China to promote Cuban sun and beach tourism, but also the ecological, cultural, events and health attractions.
Russia is the seventh largest source of tourists to Cuba, behind Canada, England, Italy, Argentina, France, and Germany.
Up to September, some 2,170,000 foreign visitors arrived in Cuba, an increase of 5.1 percent from the same period in 2011.
Tourism is the second largest source of hard currency for Cuba, after export of services, and generated last year $1.7 billion in revenues.