Gulf Air to launch direct Moscow flights soon
Manama, June 12, 2014
Direct flights between Muharraq and Moscow, expected to start this autumn, have the potential to put Bahrain on the map for Russian tourists and businessmen.
This is the view of Russian Ambassador Victor Smirnov, who told the GDN that reduced journey times would be a boon to many travellers, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
"Everybody, especially businessmen, was saying that it was tough to do a trip in 10 hours when it should take just four or five hours to fly direct," he said, in response to Gulf Air's April announcement that it would open up a new route to the Russian capital.
"We expect the trips to start in the autumn, as the memorandums of understanding have been signed."
Increased cultural exchange between the two countries was also mutually beneficial, Smirnov said - pointing to the travelling 'Tylos, The Journey Beyond Life' exhibition on historic Bahrain that visited Russia in 2012 and the Russian Bolshoi Ballet performance that helped open Bahrain National Theatre the same year.
"We all remember the opening of the Tylos exhibition in Russia in 2012, and the image of the Bahrain Police Band marching in the Red Square in 2008 will also forever remain in my memory," he said.
"Since that visit, Russians know what Bahrain is - not just a small dot in the Gulf waters, but as a country of its own.
"This year, we are celebrating 250 years of the State Hermitage Museum (in St Petersburg), one of the biggest in the world, and we're very happy that Culture Minister Shaikha Mai bint Mohammad Al Khalifa has accepted the invitation to participate in an exhibition."
Despite this willingness to give and receive cultural exports, Smirnov said that the Russian government was unlikely to streamline visa applications for Bahrainis - even though Bahrain announced a relaxation of visa requirements for Russian citizens in April this year. - TradeArabia News Service