Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy has been paying dividends in attracting tourists from Southeast Asia to supplement the decline in Chinese tourists in recent years. Taiwan has also increased its profile in other regions to bring in a more diverse crowd of travelers.
Russia’s largest private airline, S7 Airlines (also known as Siberian Airlines), will conduct its inaugural flight to Taiwan on May 24. The weekly flights will operate between Vladivostok International Airport and Taoyuan International Airport. Additionally, Royal Flight will begin operating weekly flights between Taoyuan and Moscow on May 25; this is Royal Flight’s second attempt to operate the route with its 300-seat Boeing 767-300.
The nearly four-hour flight on the company’s Airbus A320 will have a capacity of 158 passengers and operate every Friday. Russian visitors to Taiwan are given 14-day visa-free stays. The inaugural flight is expected to be at 70% capacity.
In the first quarter of 2019, Taiwan welcomed 3794 tourists from Russia, an increase of 83.46% from the same period the previous year, according to the Tourism Bureau. In 2018, 10,394 Russian tourists visited Taiwan, an increase of 12.66% from 2017.
Travel industry insiders said that the Russian tourists will spend most of their stay in southern Taiwan at the beaches to enjoy the warm weather. One tour agency told UDN that it will offer Taiwanese tourists eight-day group tours to Russia that include visits to Lake Baikal and a trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway.
The airline has a fleet of 96 aircraft, with flights to 181 cities in 26 countries.
S7 co-owner Natalia Fileva was killed in a private jet crash on March 31 near Frankfurt, Germany, on a flight from Cannes, France, according to British media The Telegraph.