SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – Costa Rica will eliminate the visa requirement for citizens of the Russian Federation as a measure to increase tourism and investments from that country, immigration and tourism officials said on Monday.The measure will allow a maximum stay of up to 30 days that can be extended for up to 90 days for each Russian citizen. The decree already was approved and will be published in coming days in the official newspaper La Gaceta, Tourism Minister Allan Flores said. The number of Russian tourists currently visiting Costa Rica is low: Only 4,146 tourists from that country entered Costa Rica in 2013, Flores said. A study by the Costa Rican Tourism Board last year said Russian tourists who would be interested in visiting the country have incomes of more than $120,000 a year. They usually travel with their families and spend up to $5,000 during an average 11-day visit. Allan Flores also said that at least two Russian airlines are evaluating offering special flights to Costa Rica’s Juan Santamaría International Airport in Alajuela/San Jose and Liberia’s Daniel Oduber International Airport in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. Some of the flights would connect via the Dominican Republic and Havana, Cuba. Even though the airlines were not named Aeroflot Russian Airlines operates from Moscow to Havana and Transaero Airlines operates from Moscow to Punta Cana.
HAVANA, Cuba. — On February 23rd the Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev ended his two day visit to Havana, Cuba. Russia signed an agreement with Raul Castro’s government to provide three new airliners for Cubana de Aviacion. The airline is going through a fleet renewal hoping to dispose the last Ilyushin IL-62s and YAK-42s. The new airliners include two Tupolev TU-204s and one Ilyushin IL-96s wide body aircraft. Since the U.S. imposed an embargo to the communist island, Cubana de Aviacion has not been able to operate western airliners, except in the late 1970s when the airline leased a DC-8 from Air Canada. The airliner (CU-T1201) operating flight CU-455 from Barbados to Jamaica was brought down by a terrorist attack on October 6th, 1976. With the new Russian airliners entering the fleet, Cubana de Aviacion expects to start new services to more Latin American cities.