Russian tourism to Cancun is flourishing, and it promises to grow bigger.
The figures help tell the story. According to Mexico's institute in charge of immigration, the number of Russians arriving in Mexico in the first nine months of 2012 hit 49,921, up from 26,651 in the same period in 2011.
Why, all of a sudden, the interest of Russians in coming to Mexico? Ease of travel, for one thing. The number of direct flights from Moscow to Cancun was twice a week last year. Then it grew to three times a week. Starting in October, Aeroflot and Transaero now have five flights a week, bringing up to 1,500 passengers (link in Spanish).
One of the top three online travel agencies in Russia, travel.ru, awarded Cancun earlier this year as the best destination in the Caribbean.
Gov. Roberto Borge of Quintana Roo, the state surrounding Cancun, is ecstatic about the growth, saying that Russian tourists stay an average of seven to 11 days, and spend 30 percent more than U.S. tourists.
The biggest drawback for Russian tourists is that few Mexicans can attend to them in Russian.
"We are preparing ourselves so that in every little business or restaurant (the employees) can speak and understand a little bit of Russian," Borge told Rusia Hoy (link in Spanish).