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Travel ban easing prompts tourist wave

More than 720,000 tourists flooded into Antalya last month, as restrictions eased.

A gradual lifting of travel restrictions prompted a surge of interest in summer holidays to Turkey, especially from Russia and Germany.

The southern province of Antalya has welcomed almost 1.5 million  visitors between January and June. Ukranian tourists led the charge between January and June, with more than 417,000 heading to Antalya. Russia sent the second highest number of visitors, with 406,000 visiting in the first six months of the year.

But the end of travel restrictions caused a surge in numbers, with 721,000 people arriving in June alone.

Moscow lifted a two-month flight ban to Turkey in June, which prompted a wave of Russian visitors, with 110,000 arriving in just a week. Turkey is a favourite with Russian visitors (seven million Russians visited in 2019) so the relaxing of the rules is great news for a country eager to make up for lost tourist time.

Germany and France, also important markets, have also relaxed travel rules, removing Turkey from their list of high-risk destinations. 

Tourism insiders are anticipating as many as three million German tourists to visit Turkey in the second half of this year, providing there are no more restrictions.

Yıldıray Karaer, Corendon Airlines CEO, said other countries are on the brink of lifting travel bans, including the Netherlands, Belgium and Scandinavian countries.

“There is a very strong demand on the German side. The season started late, but it seems like it will be extended if nothing goes wrong,” Karaer said.

Other tourists who visited Turkey between January and June included Polish visitors (89,000), and tourists from Belarus (41,000) and Kazakhstan (34,000).

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