Representatives of tourism in Turkey are hoping the resumption of flights from Russia to Turkey will help to kick-start the summer season in resort towns with tourists now beginning to fly into the country.
As of August 1, flights between Russia and Turkey resumed after the break due to the COVID-19, with the first cities receiving flights being the largest tourist destination Istanbul, as well as the capital Ankara. Dalaman, Bodrum and Antalya on the country’s Mediterranean coast will see the first charter flights start from August 10.
Some Russian tourists have already found ways of travelling to Antalya and similar destinations in Turkey through transfer flights, making stops in Istanbul or Ankara, however.
One of the passengers said that she was flying into Turkey for a 12-day holiday and had plans to travel to the Cappadocia region, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in central Turkey after spending some time in Istanbul.
Revival of travel in Turkey
The head of the Union of Mediterranean Touristic Hoteliers and Operators (AKTOB), Erkan Yagci, explained that the first revival of the relaunch of domestic tourism was seen in Antalya, with the arrival of Ukrainian and British visitors from the resumed flights. Yagci said: “However, Russia is the most important market for Antalya. The resumption will definitely bring back vital movement to the sector.”
The four-day holiday, Qurban Bayram, brought a significant amount of mobility back to the domestic tourism sector, Ulkay Atmaca, the head of Turkey’s Professional Hotel Managers Association (POYD), explained. He also noted that the arrival of the Russian tourists would change the atmosphere in Antalya, commenting “Russians love vacationing in Antalya”.
Russian tourists in Turkey
Approximately seven million Russians visited Turkey last year alone, with some reports claiming that the figures this year could be around four million now that flights between the two countries have resumed.
Last year, the top travel destination for Russians was the resort city of Antalya, which is located on the southern Mediterranean coastline. Hosting more than 5.5 million Russians last year alone, they accounted for 35% of the total tourists visiting.
British happy to holiday in Turkey
The UK Ambassador, Dominick Chilcott, has said that British tourists have been happy to holiday in Turkey and went as far to say that tourists praised the health standards, particularly in the touristic facilities. Chilcott continued to say that there had not been a single complaint received from tourists holidaying in Turkey from Britain since the flights reopened between the two countries on July 15.
When Turkey was added to the UK’s list of safe countries, thousands of British tourists headed to Turkish tourist hotspots. The UK has scrapped the need for a 14-day quarantine period for anyone arriving from Turkey, as they are deemed as a lower risk of COVID-19 contamination.
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