Published on : Saturday, October 28, 2017
Turkey is keen to further develop tourism relations with Russia and has started to win back Russian tourists in 2017. Both countries are working on the preparation of a new intergovernmental agreement to develop tourism, according to the head of the Federal Agency for Tourism (Rosturizm) Oleg Safonov, media reports stated.
He said that the 11th meeting of the working group on the development of tourism between Russia and Turkey was held in Antalya on October 26.
“We summed up the first results of the high tourist season of 2017 and considered security issues as well as the sanitary and epidemiological situation in Turkey,” he said.
“We are working on the preparation of a new intergovernmental agreement on the development of tourism between Russia and Turkey. The previous agreement was signed in 1995, that is 22 years have passed since then, and the conditions for the development of tourism are now somewhat different,” Safonov said.
Russia has been the second largest source of foreign tourists visiting Turkey, but the number of Russian tourists began to decline after a diplomatic crisis between the two countries in late 2015. Russia suspended charter flights with Turkey in late October 2015. On August 28, 2016, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree on lifting the ban on charter air services between Russia and Turkey.
There has been a notable increase in arrivals from Russia since the normalization of bilateral ties between the two countries began. In March 2017, a number of documents in the sphere of tourism were signed in Moscow following the talks between Turkish Deputy Minister of Culture and Tourism Huseyin Yayman and Oleg Safonov.
About 1.6 million people visited Turkey in the first six months, showing a tenfold increase as there were just 168,000 people in the same period last year.
The number of foreigners visiting Turkey dropped to 25.3 million in 2016. That is a 30 percent drop compared to 2015.
Turkey’s tourism revenue dropped to $22.1 billion in 2016, a 29.7 percent decrease compared to 2015, as the number of foreign arrivals to the country witnessed a dramatic plunge, the official data showed.
Turkey’s Tourism Ministry confirmed that the drop is correlated to a number of terrorist attacks and the failed military coup on July 15, 2016.