The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Wednesday said the government will take advantage of President Rodrigo Duterte's ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin to encourage more Russian tourists to visit Philippine destinations.
"Russians spend more than others and they stay for an average of two weeks with their families in the Philippines," Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said in a statement.
Russian tourists are considered a high potential source of tourism revenue after the United Nations World Tourism Organization in 2015 said Russia is the world's sixth biggest outbound market. Russian tourists spend a total of $35 billion during trips abroad, Teo said.
The DOT expects to entice Russians to visit the Philippines after pitches for prime tourist attractions such as Palawan, Boracay, Davao, and Siargao were mounted during the Moscow International Travel and Tourism Exhibition.
"We have a great advantage compared to other countries because the Russians, including President Vladimir Putin, have a great respect for President Duterte and his peace and order drive, making Philippines a safe place to visit," Teo said.
Data from the DOT showed that 28,000 Russians arrived in the Philippines in 2016, 11.6 percent higher than the number of Russian arrivals in 2015.