First flight from Russia this season has 214 tourists, including 35 children
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Giving a further fillip to the tourism industry of the State, a chartered flight from Russia with 214 upmarket tourists arrived at Thiruvananthapuram international airport on Wednesday morning for a 10-day sojourn in God's Own Country.
The AFL 4533 flight carrying 214 tourists, including 35 children and crew, touched down at the airport at 11 a.m., after an hour's stop over at Dubai. This is the first chartered flight from Russia to the capital during the current tourist season.
The group, which includes generals, Russian film and stage personalities, movie producers, leading travel agents, businessmen and their families, were given a rousing welcome by Kerala Tourism.
Children offered floral garlands to the guests, the majority who are coming to the State and the country, for the first time. A troupe led by Kalamandalam Sivarajan performed panchavadyam ensemble to lend a traditional touch to the reception.
The families of Stanislav Mesmemeryrov and Ilya Gurevich from Siberia were the first to emerge out of the terminal building. "We did not expect such a grand welcome. Back home, it is freezing cold with the temperature dipping to minus 13 degree Celsius. But, we are happy to see that the climate is good here", Mr. Stanislav, a businessman, who had come with his wife and eight-year-old daughter, said.
The Russian tourists, were excited to see the delightfully warm sunlight. As language was a barrier for majority of them, the young and old in the group were seen saying "hello" to the tourism officials, travel agents and the police who were at the airport.
Later, the tourists proceeded to the upmarket hotels in the beach resort of Kovalam and Chowara, south of Kovalam. The Russians, after staying in the beach resort will proceed to Alappuzha, Kumarakom, Ponmudi and other places before returning on January 14.
The charter operations had been organised by Concord Exotic Voyages in association with leading tour operators from Russia such as Space Travel.