Abu Dhabi: The Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi has partnered with Anex Tourism Group, a leading aviation and tourism services provider, to direct charter flights between Russia and Abu Dhabi.

As part of the agreement, twice-weekly charter flights from Moscow to Abu Dhabi International Airport will operate for six months. Indicative of the rising demand on this route, the first chartered plane landed in Abu Dhabi on the evening of October 27, with a capacity for 189 passengers and was fully booked.

The emirate has witnessed a dramatic upsurge in travellers — both from Russia and countries within the Commonwealth of Independent States, CIS, — following the visa-free travel requirements implemented at the beginning of the year for Russian residents. From January to August this year, Russian and CIS hotel guests totalled 59,040 compared to 49,976 in the corresponding period in 2016, an increase of 18 per cent.

Both markets together have shown significant double-digit growth, while travellers from Russia are among the top three longest-staying visitors in Abu Dhabi, with an average of one to two weeks.

Currently, Abu Dhabi has approximately 1,800 weekly seats from all Russia and CIS markets.