Turkey’s tourism sector leaders forecast that the number of Russian tourists will not decline in the coming year.
Turkey attracted more than 4.2 million Russians in 2013, and this amounts to over 12 percent of 35 million total tourists visiting the country.
The number of Russian tourists increased by nine percent in the first ten months of this year, compared with the same period in 2013, despite the diminished value of the Russian ruble — down nearly 60 percent in 2014 — and the effect that Western sanctions for Russia’s support of the conflict in Ukraine are having on the country’s economy.
The head of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies, Basaran Ulusoy, said he expected no decline in the number of Russian tourists.
” Turkey is the country in which Russians feel secure. I do not think they will give up onTurkey as destination,” said Ulusoy. He recalled that flights from major Russian cities only take about two hours.
Timur Bayindir, chairman of the Touristic Hotels and Investors Association in Turkey, said Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s recent visit was good publicity for Turkey.
“It will have a very positive impact in terms of Turkey’s promotion,” said Bayindir. Putin came to Turkey along with 10 Russian ministers, and signed important agreements for energy sales and trade.
Bayindir also thought that the low-value of the ruble would not keep tourists away. “Travelling to Turkey now costs much more for Russian tourists if they pay in rubles. But many Russians save in dollars, instead of in their national currency. So Turkish tourism should not be much affected,” Bayindir said.