Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
Jamaica's tourism industry has scored its biggest gain to date out of central Europe with the announcement of direct flights from Russia, France, Czech Republic and Scandinavia.
Fresh from his attendance at the World Travel Market in London, Minister of Tourism and Entertainment, Dr. Wykeham McNeill this morning at a press conference at his offices in Kingston said, Russia's second largest carrier, Transaero will begin non-stop service from Moscow to Montego Bay, January, 2013.
Transaero, in association with Russian tour operator Biblio Globus, will use a Boeing 777 with 300 seats.
"The flights will run for three months initially, however we are in discussions with them to continue into the summer and to provide the service for the entire year," McNeill said.
A group of Russian media representatives is expected in the island to help promote destination Jamaica in their country.
In addition, service has been confirmed out of the Czech Republic for this winter, by Exim Tours, which is owned by German tour operator Meir's Velt Reisen.
Meir's Velt Reisen, will operate a charter from Prague starting December 28, 2012.
The flight is to be shared with Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, with 100 seats designated for Jamaica and will have 10 rotations, said the tourism and entertainment minister.
In support of this flight some 100 European travel agents will arrive later this month to conduct an entire tour of the island.
This winter the sector will also be bolstered with non-stop service out of Paris, France.
This flight will be operated by French tour operator Look Voyages ( Voy-aje) providing 350 seats.
"Prior to this year, we shared this flight with the Dominican Republic. However it is now a direct flight to Jamaica and we will benefit from the full complement of 350 seats, bringing 100 additional seats to Jamaica," McNeill said.
The news comes as the country makes inroad into Scandinavian frontier, which includes Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.
"Following discussions with TUI they have confirmed flights out of Scandinavia for winter 2013-2014, from Stockholm Sweden to Montego Bay using their new Dream-liner 787," said the minister.
An average additional 28,000 room nights, on a fortnightly rotation is expected to be generated from this deal.