Russia´s new "middle classes"are choosing Spain as their preferred holiday destination. The Russian market is growing and Benidorm is certainly courting this influx of visitors to its shores. With flights available from Moscow to Alicante on both Iberia and Vueling the market is sure to keep increasing and bringing them in. Russian tour operator "Versa" have also launched charter packages from St Petersburg to Alicante.
|The Russians are use to crowded beaches|
Up to now most Russian that were unable to travel out of the country headed to the southern resort of Yalta, on the Black Sea. The beaches are terribly crowded... I have actually experienced it myself some years back. In fact, it was SO chock-a-block that people stood up reading their books and rotated around with one arm up in the air to get an even suntan... it reminded me of a chicken on a rotisserie!
|Russian church in Altea|
For many years Benidorm has welcomed visitors from all over Europe and the new emerging Russian market is also now important for Benidorm. Although for 2011 it only represented1% of the market, it accounted for over 54,000 visitors and the Russians are classified as high spenders, with an average spend of 120 euros per day according to Juan Angel Ferrer. With this in mind, the Benidorm Tourist Board have established, on a trial basis, a bilingual customer service hotline for the duration of the high season. This service is available Monday - Saturday 9.30 - 18.00 on 965 082 162 and they have also launched the "Visit Benidorm" website in Russian due to the increasing number of Russian visitors
|Eye catching Intempo on Poniente side of benidorm|
Aprox 70% of Russina tourists head to the North East of Spain, namely the Costa Brava and Costa Dorada, but one big pull that the Costa Blanca has over their Catalonian cousins is bullfighting! The Russians are fans and enthusiasts of blood sports and particularly keen on bullfighting. Although banned in Catalonia, it is still legal here in the Valencian Community so a big pull for them. In a vain attempt to keep the significant Russian sector, they have established "bloodless" bullfights! The tourists are bussed from the coast to the village of Alfara de Carles where a novice bullfighter will go through the ritual without physically harming the bull and the Russians pay 90€ for the trip!
|Press conference in Benidorm to promote the Bullfight|
Many Russian men have served military service and know how to defend themselves. They will fight first and ask questions later... I think that if any of the peamen or pickpockets have a go at them they´d end up worse for wear - perhaps in the short term it may clear up the problem?