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A Russian Connection

National Tourism Figures Warn Government that Russian Tourist Targets Can't be Met Without Direct Air Connections to Moscow.

(3/21/2008) Bisnis Indonesia reports that the Indonesian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA) is urging the government to provide direct air access between Russian and Indonesia to increase the flow of Russian tourists.

Ben Sukma, the Chairman of ASITA told the press that the Indonesian government's target of 100,000 Russian tourists in 2008 will be difficult to achieve without direct air connections between the two countries. Sukma explained: "The main stumbling block to increasing Russian tourist visitors is (a lack of ) air access. Unlike our competing destination Thailand, whose national carrier (Thai Airways) have direct flights to Moscow we have no direct air link. In the past Aeroflot flew directly to Bali, but no more. We have to fix this."

Russian tourists presently visiting Bali use flights provided by Trans Euro, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways - who all operate non-direct services to the Island.

In 2007 a total of 36,933 Russian tourists visited Bali, according to statistics provided by the Bali immigration office.