MOSCOW – Paraguay is interested in improving its air connectivity with Russia to increase tourism flow, Tourism Minister of the South American country, Sofía Montiel de Afara, said.
“We are working very hard to improve connectivity. We need to strengthen alliances that are strategic and that allow any activity related to connectivity to be sustainable with the promotion so that we can take passengers to Paraguay as well as interest for Paraguayans to reach Russia,” Montiel said.
The minister recalled that for now Paraguay does not have a direct connection with Russia but it does, through the airline “Air Europa, via Madrid.”
“We are trying to get other connections that allow us to have fewer flight hours, that’s what we’re working on,” he said.
In addition to the connection between Asunción and Madrid, which connects the South American country with Europe, there is connectivity from Paraguay to Central America with Panama and from there to the whole world, the minister added.
“Then one of the main axes to achieve the insertion of Paraguay in the world is to work hard in this connectivity that will allow us to get closer and closer,” he concluded.
Paraguay stands out for nature tourism and is also a country rich in culture and traditions with a wide range of tourist activities.
“We have Pantanal Paraguayo, a candidate to be a Natural Heritage, to be declared by UNESCO,” said Montiel.
But the “main star” of the country, according to the minister, is the ancestral culture.
“We have many activities developed with ancestral communities, indigenous communities that show the identity of our country,” said the minister.
Among other attractions, he highlighted the circuits with the Jesuit missions that are a World Heritage Site and that are complemented by the gastronomic route, with the Yerba Mate route and the Estebia route.
In addition, tourists can live an authentic experience in rural accommodation located in the interior of the country.
The Minister of Tourism of Paraguay stressed that for many years the country has relations and ties that unite it with Russia and aims to strengthen ties through tourism.
“We receive Russians annually, last year approximately 800 Russians arrived in Paraguay and from January to August we received approximately 650 Russians but we are still working to capture a greater flow of visitors from this country,” Montiel said.
The minister informed that she held a fruitful meeting with the executive director of the Russia-Latin America Business Center, Vitali Stepanischev.
“They are interested in working in cooperation, both tourism operators as well as investors, especially from the river area and the shipping area,” he said.
In addition, he held an important meeting with the president of the International Center for Enogastronomy of Russia, Leonid Guelibterman, who is expected to return a visit to Paraguay.
The meeting focused on Paraguayan cuisine and its presence in Russia through the connection with tour operators.
According to the Paraguayan minister, Guelibterman was interested in the initiatives that the South American country began to develop during his delegation’s visit to St. Petersburg.
Last week the Russian city hosted the 23rd session of the General Assembly of the World Tourism Organization.
“These have been very fruitful days in which we have interacted with tourism ministers from around the world,” Montiel said, adding that Paraguay also participated in the Executive Council meeting.
In parallel, meetings were held with Tourism Ministers from other countries, including Egypt.
The Paraguayan delegation also organized a parallel agenda with Russian businessmen from the commercial and hotel sectors.
“We are very hopeful and we leave very happy for the good receptivity in St. Petersburg,” Montiel summed up.
He also expressed the hope of being able to specify the arrival of more tourists to Paraguay in the medium term.
About the next visit, the minister said it will take place “in the shortest possible time.”